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24 May

Part Two, the up and coming innovation: RFID Technology

Part Two, the up and coming innovation: RFID Technology

This week, we're picking back up on the rapidly emerging industry of RFID Technology. As I had mentioned in last month's blog post, the amount of advantages to using this technology is unbeatable. A sampling of these advantages include: Creating efficiencies in processing, managing losses, identifying item stockpiles at customer sites, improving quality and building trust and loyalty with customers. Below, I go in depth on each of these categories to provide a better understanding of just how important RFID Technology is within a laundry and rental system. 

Creating Efficiencies

By strategically placing scan points on the receiving dock, the soil room, soil belts, and other key points in the processing flow as well as the shipping docks, laundries can balance work-load, improve efficiencies and identify bottlenecks.

Managing Losses

Studies have shown that items lost in processing or on site at customers represent one of laundries largest expenses. These losses can be experienced in textiles, linens, uniforms, entrance mats and other items. Not only do losses affect profitability, they also impact perceived hidden costs and fuels distrust with customers, affecting relationships and customer retention.

RFID systems and their ability to track item level activity allows for losses and linen life to be immediately recognized and reported to the customer.  Depending on the location and number of scan points in the laundry, customer and customer process, the source of the loss can be identified. This detailed data and reliable tracking process will help the laundry build goodwill and trust with the customer in addition to helping the customer reduce their costs by showing them how to control losses

Inventory Stockpiling

Excess inventory sitting on either our shelves or our customer’s shelves does not generate capital.   Inventory hoarding at customer locations can amount to a non-performing investment, as well as lost revenue. Previously, this stockpile was invisible to the laundry. To account for this, some laundries have instituted line-item loss fees or built this expense into their prices.  However, it is non-quantifiable and highly variable, breeding more customer concerns. With RFID systems, items not returning to the laundry are completely visible and quantifiable. It is now possible to detail for the customer the specific item, delivery date and the length of time it has been in service without being returned for processing.

Quality Control

With the ability to track item history, laundries will know precisely how many times an item has been processed. By working with vendors to determine product lifecycles, the system can automatically alert the operator to items nearing the end of the lifecycle, and route them for quality inspection. If the item is determined to be at the end of its lifecycle, it is marked as such and downgraded or discarded.  This information can help apparel manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, chemical manufacturers and laundry engineers work to extend the life of the garment and increase profitability.

Superior Uniform Group as your RFID Partner

As commercial laundries recognize the benefits of RFID technology, more will be implementing RFID based inventory and operations management systems. Superior Uniform Group/Fashion Seal Healthcare has a long history of innovation in technology based value added services and recognizes the huge opportunity to create efficiencies by integrating with these systems with our manufacturing process.

Faster to Market

Our goal is to reduce time and expense incurred by the laundry to integrate RFID tags/chips into garments and associate tags with SKUs and descriptions. We do this by delivering garments with the tags/chips already sewn in. By avoiding the time and expense to do this, laundries can immediately put the garments into service upon receipt. In addition, we can provide the laundry with tag-level advance notification of shipments, allowing them to better plan implementations and logistics and provide better service to customers.

Seamless Inventory Ordering and Replenishment

As garments reach the end of their useful life, they are removed from inventory and need replacement. When the number of active items reaches a minimum level (MIN), the system can automatically trigger a replenishment order to bring inventory up to a maximum level (MAX). This order can be electronically approved and transmitted to the vendor using a variety of methods effectively creating an automatic inventory maintenance system. New customer planning can also trigger the creation and transmittal of a PO to the vendor.

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