But ASNs and other EDI processes aren't the only solution retailers have. Efficiencies and accuracies get even better when vendors and retailers employ automated technologies, such as barcodes and Radio Frequency identification (RFID) to track shipments as they are picked, packed, shipped and then received. Although more work needs to be done, there has been progress in modifying EDI transactions so that EDI forms can leverage a product's Electronic Product Code (EPC) through typical order-to-cash processes. An EPC, by the way, is an RFID-friendly encoding scheme that represents the same GS1 identifiers used with UPC bar codes, enhanced to identify a specific instance, or a type of trade item or asset.
Last modified on Tuesday, 02 April 2013
Interestingly, a newly released report indicates that retailers are considering RFID as a means to reduce shrinkage, as well. According to the Global Retail Theft Barometer, an annual study conducted by the Centre for Retail Research and underwritten by Checkpoint Systems, a supplier of electronic article surveillance (EAS) and RFID systems, more than 78 percent of retail shrinkage – losses caused by theft and fraud as well as procedural failures and accounting – is due to shoplifting by dishonest customers or retail employees. New products in categories such as electronics, perfumes and sportswear are among the most likely to be stolen.
Retailers are taking action, however. Of the 50 most stolen products, the number of items protected from theft has increased from 60% in 2007 to 75% in 2011, with EAS source tagging and special high-theft solutions implemented by more retailers each year.
While a little more than one-third of loss prevention managers thought the primary driver of RFID in their organizations was driven by inventory visibility and management, about 19 percent saw RFID as being driven primarily by the retailer's loss prevention needs. The study found that there has also been a significant growth in spending on loss prevention equipment, representing about 31 percent of loss prevention in 2011, including electronic surveillance, software, access control, and communications.