How you can fit RFID into your strategy - 31/07/2017

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) systems will soon be everywhere. This certainly applies to the apparel market, where trends such as speed and omnichannel branding call for fast, accurate and integrative stock management and loss prevention systems – a development we looked at in my previous blog post. But implementing RFID can be a challenge. In this second article, I will share four vital ways in which we at Century Retail Europe can help you to get in step with the RFID trend in a way that matches your current systems, practices and business goals.

Start making your systems futureproof today

I firmly believe that RFID will soon be everywhere and I substantiated this view in my previous article. However, here at Century Retail Europe, we also realise that the reality at your company may be very different. Perhaps you’re interested in RFID as a future solution, but are currently using other systems that not only have required major investments but also have covered your needs quite satisfactorily until now. I often refer to barcode technology in this context. Barcodes have evolved into a mature technology that really meets the needs of most businesses so far: RFID may be ‘cool’ and ‘futureproof’, but it is not a necessity – at least, not yet for everyone. That’s why at Century we are constantly looking for creative ways to tie in with the current reality of customers. We want you to enjoy the aforementioned benefits of RFID in the long term, while also maximising the systems and strategies you are working with today. Let me share four ways in which we can help you prepare for the future without neglecting the present.

1. Simple, low-cost transitional solutions

The great thing about our RFID solutions is that you can combine them with your current tagging systems. Whether you use acousto-magnetic (AM) or radio-frequency (RF) labels for loss prevention, we can integrate RFID, giving you its added benefits without disrupting your system. Some customers use RFID only at the gate, as a means of loss prevention, others use it for stock management, and still others use it for both. Some companies choose for a radical switch to RFID, others prefer a gradual or partial transition. Our goal is always to help you find a solution that matches your situation and wishes, while also setting you for the future.

2. Local experience centres and experts, global outlook

In the last two years, Century Europe has done a lot to get closer to its customers. We take that quite literally. Century Iberia’s new office and experience centre here in Madrid is a great example. It shows how eager Century is to get close to the market. Of course, the same goes for our customer support resources in countries like France, Italy, the Nordic countries and Russia. Here in Spain, we are already seeing the results of this approach. Our physical presence is giving the market confidence: they recognize we have invested in getting shoulder to shoulder with them in order to understand their needs. Our staff here and in the other countries are like sensors, scanning the local market, reading local developments – and combining those with the bigger picture we have as a large, European and global player. Customers really appreciate our broad, yet localised angle.

3. Listening & learning from the market

Being present in local markets obviously only pays off if you have the ability to listen and observe closely what is going on there. For me, this has always been crucial. I have always made a point of not just meeting with the management of a customer, but also visiting its stores, feeling what it’s like to be a shopper there, chatting with staff, reading up on their financial situation, following news related to their business and so on. It is this ability to look at the business from many different points of view that enables us at Century to provide tailored solutions. We are constantly learning from our many different customers and prospects and the accumulated knowledge is then fed back to them. It’s a kind of self-propelling expertise. It also means that we keep adapting our RFID solutions, even adapting our R&D activities accordingly. Our decision to offer RFID in combination with RF and AM labels is an example of that. So we’re not just pushing technology, we’re making the technology subservient to the real needs of the market.

4. Connecting you, your systems and your partners for the best possible results

At Century Europe, we have evolved from manufacturer to advisor, coordinator and designer of holistic solutions for our customers. Yes, we are still the world’s largest Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) manufacturer, with over 280 patented EAS solutions on the market, over 200 different RFID solutions and an output of 500 million hard tags and 1 billion labels every year. So whether you are a small or large company, we can deliver the goods. But we realise there is a lot more to harnessing the potential of RFID than just buying the products. The next big step is to connect everything to your Enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and for that you need middleware and software companies to get on board and to convert the RFID data into information you can understand and work with. So we don’t just deliver the tags and the readers, but we also have consultants equipped to bring you, your systems and your partners all together. Our role has changed from being a supplier to include that of a broker, a total solution designer. Our aim is to be the single point of contact for customers, liaising with their middle- and software partners to get the very best out of your company.

“Our role has changed from being a supplier to include that of a broker, a total solution designer – a single point of contact for customers, liaising with their middle- and software partners to get the very best out of their business.”

Interested in how Century Europe could help you move forward with RFID? Please contact us today.

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