Wednesday, September 11, 2013

American Apparel Utilizes RFID Technology to Improve Inventory Management System

After finishing the readings for week 3, I was intrigued to explore how different technologies are being used for inventory management. I was able to find an article that described how American Apparel is expanding an RFID implementation project that improves inventory management and accuracy by utilizing RFID technology. After testing the devices in select stores around the country, American Apparel has chosen to place the devices in all of their stores located in North America. In the test sites, the RFID device has delivered "hands-free, full time inventory real time, with less work" than the hand-held devices that they were using before.

Interestingly, American Apparel is getting more than what the bargained for with Impinj's RFID device. They are able to eliminate timely activities that were previously associated with inventory management and use this time to focus their efforts on customer service and the selling the products. They have also been able to increase their security efforts through the use of RFID. This includes: helping reduce theft and helping both staff and customer find missing or misplaced clothing in the store. American Apparel has stated that the test RFID sites had a dramatic increase in "inventory visibility" with the installation. Impinj has stated that this form of inventory management allows their clients to "elevate their service standards in retail."

I truly believe incorporating this type of technology provides amazing opportunities for the companies, like American Apparel, to improve their inventory management system. RFID technology not only improves inventory management but allows staff to concentrate more on the customer. I wonder if small businesses will need to invest in RFID technology to improve their own inventory management system? Will improved inventory management systems make companies, like American Apparel, more competitive? Will customers notice the increased customer service? Technology is changing the horizon of how inventory is managed. I wonder how products like Impinj's RFID will create and target new products for smaller markets to use.

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