One person inventory 15,000 pieces in an hour

The For Boys For Girls store chain invests in greater efficiency and agility through radio frequency identification (RFID) technology

Edson Perin

Imagine taking inventory of a store with 15,000 pieces of clothing using barcode scanners. It would take eight precious hours of work for four people to finish the job. Detail: with a maximum hit rate of 86%. Now, imagine the same inventory, from the same store with 15,000 pieces of clothing in stock, being done by one person, in just one hour of work. And more: with close to 100%. Yes, it is possible using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

The example above is not fiction. This is exactly what happened with the For Boys For Girls chain of stores in the State of Paraná, with branches in almost three dozen cities such as Apucarana, Cianorte, Foz do Iguaçu, Londrina, Maringá and Umuarama. After investing in the RFID technology developed and implemented by iTag Etiquetas Inteligentes, it can be said that the inventory time with RFID has become 32 times less than when the company used only bar codes.

For Boys For Girls: accurate inventories in less time with RFID solution

For Boys For Girls bets on the concept that fashion should be accessible and uncomplicated. Under the direction and care of the same family for more than two decades, the brand started in the private label business and today has 28 own retail stores across Paraná. The company serves the female and male audience and offers news to consumers twice a week. The stores operate on a “come and go” system – the customer will not be approached, unless he calls an attendant.

Before RFID, there was the printing of labels and the subsequent sending for application in the parts finishing sector. After sewing the label, the product returned to the factory, where there was the manual checking process, with barcode readers. Each piece had to be checked by two employees: an 8-hour job for every 5,000 pieces of jeans. Then, the products were picked, that is, the combined actions of collecting and separating the items to fulfill the order of a sale or transfer.

The post-picking product checkout required a team of 13 people on eight-hour shifts a day, with the capacity to check up to 3,000 pieces per shift. After packing, a packing list was generated for manual checking in the store. The conference at the store required opening the packages, burden by burden, to check the quantities of goods. In this stage, more than one day was consumed and, if counting losses occurred in the middle of the process, the team had to restart everything again.

Inventories without RFID required to beep tag by tag by bar codes, an activity responsible for an entire day’s work spent by four employees and with an error rate close to 15% to count the 15,000 pieces.

In this first test stage, four RFID portals were installed, distributed in the entrance sector, finalization of the production order and in the shipping sector, to allow product billing and conference after the bales are sealed. During the implementation of RFID, the company chose not to use the GS1 international standard, just an internal recording encoding, just for control. But this decision may be reversed in the future, if the company wishes to fit its products into the global system of standards.

Among the equipment in use are two ZD500r printers, two Blue Bird RFR900 collectors, two Zebra FX8500 collectors, Zebra Fx7500 readers, 16 cables and 16 iTAG antennas. The adopted label is of the Sticker model 74 x 20, from iTag, with an Impinj Monza r6 chip: all are engraved and printed when ordering the production of new garments, including the coding of the order number.

The main challenge of this RFID implantation at the For Boys For Girls store was the educational barrier of the logistical process, where the importance of the RFID process and the way to execute it had to pass through the approval – and resistance – of the older employees. The company’s management and the IT (Information Technology) department made the decision to adopt RFID and make the implementation feasible.

For the receiving process, the conference execution time dropped sharply. In the beginning, two people counted an average of 5,000 pieces a day and only products from the jeans line. Now, a single person makes the conference of 8 thousand pieces per day, including jeans, knitwear and third party products. For the billing process, there were reductions in time and in the number of people in action. What required a day to spend 3 thousand pieces, with a team of 13 people, now reaches 12 thousand pieces daily, with only 8 people. And the verification of shipment of volumes leaving the Distribution Center (CD) for the store, today is done in minutes, which took up to one day.

Thanks to the success of the tests, the implementation of a process of checking volumes is in progress when the products are loaded on the truck directly by the RFID collector, with the iTag Monitor Mobile application, which integrates with the ERP Virtual Age and the application iTag Alert 2.0. Among the next steps, the goal includes improving the integration with the ERP (electronic management system) to make it possible to use the Anti-Theft with RFID tags and with the iTag Alert 2.0 software.

Integration with ERP occurs with three iTag applications. The first is the iTAG Monitor with Virtual Age. This allows reading on all logistic movement screens. The second integration occurs with iTag Alert 2.0, which checks volumes before boarding the truck and at the store entrance. With iTag Monitor Mobile, the company makes the inventories, parts location, check-in of the truck and unloading for entry into the store. There is a cloud computing solution for both ERP and iTag applications.

In stages, the For Boys For Girls success story is divided as follows:

1st Step – Printing of RFID tags

  • In this step, the adhesive labels provided by iTag are printed using the Virtual Age ERP, in the function of printing labels by production order. Thus, the exact quantity values ​​of the production order are recorded and printed and, thus, the labels are sent to the internal finish, for application of the labels on the pieces.

2nd Step – Production order finalization check conference

  • To make the input check for the finalization and production order, Virtual Age is used in the OP finalization function. ITag Monitor captures the parts that are inside the box by RFID and concludes the verification of all labeled products and ensures that they belong to the production order that is being checked`.

3rd Step – Product Billing and Transfer

  • After the sales or transfer order is generated, the products are separated according to the order and are taken to the shipping area where the conference is held at Virtual Age with the iTag Monitor application. Thus, all movements before packing the product in plastic bales due to volumes are verified.

4th Step – Sealed volume conference

  • After the product is invoiced, the packaging sector wraps the items in plastic bales, dividing them in quantities and writing them down so that the sealed volume can be checked. In partnership with iTag, an improvement was developed in the Monitor app, which, when executing the process of checking volumes sealed with RFID codes, allows the inclusion of a numerical sequence according to the number of volumes that belong to the transaction being checked. With this, iTag Alert 2.0 processes the information collected so that conferences and location via the collector can be made if necessary.

5th Step – Truck boarding conference

  • Before boarding the volumes on the truck, the iTag Monitor Mobile application checks the invoice before boarding the truck to ensure that all volumes leave the distribution center without divergence.

6th Step – Truck unloading conference for store entrance

  • After unloading the truck, Monitor Mobile checks the unloaded volumes and also validates the items within the volume to ensure that the store is receiving all the items that came out of the CD, without disagreement. At this point, iTag Alert 2.0 and Virtual Age perform the receipt of goods according to what was checked on the CD and thus supply the store’s stock.

7th Step – Inventory

  • The inventory process started to be integrated with iTag Alert 2.0, which reads all parts of the store or the CD and generates the information so that Virtual Age can receive everything that has been read and validate that everything is correct .

According to Rafael de Almeida, iTag’s Supervisor, the biggest gain for the client was to decrease the lead time and, with this, take advantage of the same employee in more functions. Other gains involve lowering the cost of logistics operations and checking all items using RFID at all locations, thus increasing the accuracy of the processes.



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