In The News

April 19th, 2017

RFID Retail Challenges and Opportunities Round Table Sponsored by SML

RFID technology provides unprecedented visibility into the location of retail merchandise and, therefore, provides benefits that may include: reduced inventory requirements, enhanced omni-channel fulfillment, positively influence sales, improve customer satisfaction, reduce markdowns and labor costs, as well as improve supply chain coordination. The Roundtable describes the challenges and opportunities on retail application and adoption of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. The conversation coincided with the release of a 15-month study of RFID, which presented an extensive amount of primary data provided by Macy’s, recently published by Platt Retail Institute (PRI) and the Retail Analytics Council (RAC) at Northwestern University.

Download the full version of RFID Retail Challenges  and Opportunities Round Table at the “Download Load” page of or link to

April 5th, 2017

Leaders Representing Retail and Apparel Industries to Discuss RFID’s Benefits at LIVE! 2017

Originally posted on

RFID Journal’s 15th annual event will feature a retail and apparel conference track, a general-session panel and a special retail workshop.

Apr 05, 2017— RFID Journal announced today that key leaders from the retail and apparel sectors will discuss the benefits that they are achieving from using radio frequency identification technology, at this year’s RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition, which will be held on May 9-11 at Arizona’s Phoenix Convention Center. The event will provide an opportunity for retail and apparel companies to hear first-hand about the most important deployments in these sectors, and to find the solutions that meet their business needs.

Retail and apparel companies have been among the early adopters of RFID technologies, both internally and within their shared supply chains. End users of RFID will be featured in a Retail/Apparel track, during general sessions, and in an Item-Level Retail and Apparel Workshop—a preconference seminar explaining how to deploy RFID at stores, warehouses and manufacturing facilities, and how to achieve real-world benefits.

Retail and apparel sessions to be featured at LIVE! 2017 will include:

Retail and Apparel Panel
During this general session, a panel of retailer and brand owner speakers will address how they are using RFID to achieve operational benefits, as well as the lessons they learned from their deployments.
Moderator: Dean Frew, CTO and Senior VP, RFID Solutions, SML
Panelists: Kevin O’Dare, Lead Business Partner, Target and Richard Haig, CIO/CTO, Herman Kay Co.

Keynote Address: Preparing for the Technology-Enabled Future of Retail
This session will focus on how companies can gain an understanding of new consumer shopping habits and changing expectations by using technologies like RFID, as well as how stores will be reconfigured to serve new shopping habits and how the data-integrated supply chain is going to change.
Speaker: Dr. Bill Hardgrave, Dean, Harbert College of Business, Auburn University

Herman Kay Uses RFID to Track and Improve Garment Production
Speaker: Richard Haig, CIO/CTO, Herman Kay Co.

Jack Wills Deploys RFID to Drive Stock Accuracy
Speaker: Gary Tattersall, Head of Asset Protection and Risk Management, Jack Wills

The Benefits for Apparel Manufacturers
Speaker: Robert Burton, Executive VP, Li & Fung (Trading) Ltd.

The Value of Tracking Shoes With RFID—Advantages and Findings
Speaker: Harald Krug, Manager of Logistics, ANWR GROUP eG

LIVE! 2017 will also feature four industry-specific and four technical conference tracks, as well as eight in-depth preconference seminars and workshops, four post-conference seminars, fast-track training provided by RFID4U, and RFID Professional Institute certification. The event will be hosted alongside the IEEE RFID 2017 event and the 2017 RFID Journal Awards. What’s more, the event will offer exhibits and demonstrations conducted by the industry’s leading technology firms. For more information, visit


April 4th, 2017

SML Analysis Finds Just 4 to 8 Percent Adoption of RFID Among Retailers

Originally posted on

The study finds that pilots are evolving to full deployments, the company reports, indicating a steady growth of RFID adoption ahead for retailers, fueled by omnichannel sales.

Apr 04, 2017— According to RFID solutions provider SML RFID, the apparel market is still in the earliest steps of a long race toward universal RFID tag use. In fact, the company estimates, apparel market penetration is a conservative 4 to 8 percent thus far. This is considerably less than indicated on some reports, such as one from GS1, which estimate the adoption percentage at more than half.

SML’s growth estimate comes from an analysis that the company initially conducted 18 months ago, says Dean Frew, SML RFID‘s CTO and senior VP of RFID solutions. The analysis, he says, was intended to help the company identify where it should focus its marketing strategies and planning, such as the geographic location of service bureaus that can quickly provide encoded tags, and what business requirements were emerging across different segments.

Dean Frew

The intent to deploy RFID, or the testing of the technology, is significantly different than an actual permanent deployment, Frew says, but in some cases, statistical results can be confusing. For instance, if a large company were to conduct a pilot at a single store, that would indicate its interest in RFID, even if the sheer volume of tagged items were low.

What that means for the RFID industry, Frew explains, is plenty of room for growth—something he says the company’s sales are proving. According to Frew, SML’s RFID technology sales have been up 50 percent annually for the past three or four years. “We’re seeing significant growth year over year, and it looks like 2017 and going forward is going to be no different than that.”

Much of that growth results from the pressure of online sales that is prompting retailers to offer omnichannel purchasing for customers who can buy a product from the nearest store or online, or purchase that item online and pick it up at the nearest store. This omnichannel model requires that every store maintain a highly accurate inventory count.

However, Frew adds, at the expected growth rate, it may be a decade before RFID installations—including software, tags and readers in use at apparel stores—become ubiquitous. “When you define adoption,” he states, “we’re looking at it from the bottom up.” That means counting the number of actual RFID tags in use, and the number of stores using the technology.

The number of actual deployed RFID systems—including tags, readers and supporting software—for which retailers are experiencing measurable results and a return on investment (ROI) is considerably less than some estimates have led the industry to believe.


March 10th, 2017

Dean Frew’s “Omnichannel Challenges” Article Featured in Mi Business Mag

mi business magDean Frew’s popular article discussing omnichannel challenges, previously published in Retail Technology Review, has now been picked up by Mi Business Mag. The article discusses what retailers and technology providers learned about implementing omnichannel in 2016 and how to address the most difficult issues this year.

Specifically, Dean (CTO & SVP RFID Solutions, SML RFID) discusses how RFID plays an essential role in omnichannel, giving retailers the inventory visibility and accuracy needed to ensure that online orders can reliably be picked up by customers in the store without needing to take on cumbersome overstock.

Mi Business Mag is a weekly online magazine publishing content that supports entrepreneurs and new, effective business ideas. Check out the full article on their site here.

March 1st, 2017

Elusive Numbers Surround Retail Apparel RFID

– Published Growth Numbers Conflict with Actual RFID Consumption.
SML RFID Pegs Apparel Market Penetration at 8 Percent –

apparel RFIDDallas, March 1, 2017 – Has RFID really conquered the retail apparel world? It depends on whom you ask. While RFID tag usage is growing by double digits annually, the numbers quoted about how many apparel and footwear retailers presently use RFID systems vary. Dramatically.

Statistics reported by retail reporters, academia, and retailers themselves range from 50 percent to 96 percent with provisos of those using the technology versus those who plan to, or are in the preliminary planning stages.

The reality? Actual deployed systems including tags, readers and the supporting software — where retailers are experiencing measurable results and ROI — realistically range from four percent to eight percent. This highlights that the market is just starting the rapid adoption cycle.

So, why is the gap so sizeable? (more…)

February 22nd, 2017

SML’s Dean Frew Talks Omnichannel Challenges in Retail Technology Review

omnichannel challengesDean Frew, CTO & SVP RFID Solutions for SML RFID, recently published a piece in Retail Technology Review titled “How can retailers overcome the omnichannel challenges from 2016?” In the article, Dean explains how retailers are currently struggling to meet consumers’ increasing demand for seamless shopping across multiple devices at any time.

Combined with expectations of next-day delivery and same-day, in-store pickup after ordering online, retailers must be able to quickly adapt to the changing retail landscape and address the most significant ominchannel challenges – or risk getting left behind. Dean goes on to explain how item-level RFID is an essential catalyst for implementing omnichannel. Check out the full article here.

February 16th, 2017

Dean Frew Interviewed for RFID im Blick Magazine

rfid im blickSML’s CTO & SVP RFID Solutions, Dean Frew, was recently interviewed for German-based RFID and NFC magazine RFID im Blick. In the article, Dean discusses how SML provides easy-to-use RFID solutions, as well as a worldwide service network, to bring unprecedented efficiencies to the retail industry. He explains how SML’s Pop-Up Stores allow customers to demo SML’s technology and experience the potential ROI of a full-scale RFID deployment first-hand. The relationship between RFID and omnichannel is also discussed.

Elsewhere in the issue, SML’s new RFID Solution Innovation Center in Mettmann, Germany, is featured. To read Dean’s interview from the english version of RFID im Blick, please click on the image to the right:

January 13th, 2017

SML’s Dean Frew Interviewed for “RFID Trends” Feature

RFID trends 2017RFID Journal recently created a piece titled, “RFID Trends: What’s Ahead in 2017,” which features RFID experts discussing how the RFID industry will grow and change in 2017. Featured in the piece is SML’s CTO & SVP RFID Solutions, Dean Frew, who talks about how more and more retailers may begin tagging 100 percent of their products to make things more efficient this year. He also predicts a rising interest in the U.S., European and Asian apparel and footwear sectors, as well as an increased need for providers to focus on scalable solutions. Check out the article at RFID Journal, or click the images below to view the full PDF versions of Part 1 and Part 2: (more…)

December 2nd, 2016

Target’s RFID and Fulfillment Investments Lead to Massive Increase in Digital Sales

Originally posted on Retail Info Systems News:

RFID at TargetYear over year, Target continues to surpass expectations and deliver quality experiences to its customers — 2016 has been no different. Although the third quarter saw a .2% decline in sales from last year, its comparable digital channel sales grew a whopping 26% over last year, proving its continued investment is paying off.

“We’ve been very committed to improving our digital engagement, and year-to-date we’re up over 20%,” said Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO, Target on a recent earnings call with analysts. “We saw a 26% growth in the third quarter, and the investments we’ve been making to improve functionality and ease online is certainly connecting with our guests.” (more…)

November 30th, 2016

How RFID Helps Herman Kay Serve Department Store Customers

Originally posted on Apparel Magazine:

Chances are you have a coat made by Herman Kay Company hanging in your closet. The designer and manufacturer, based in New York City, produces approximately 5.5 million outerwear garments annually for brands such as Anne Klein, BCBG, Diane von Furstenberg, London Fog and Michael Kors. These coats are supplied to major department stores, from Macy’s and Nordstrom to Lord & Taylor and Dillard’s.

As retailers began incorporating radio frequency identification(RFID) into their supply chains a couple years back, CIO/CTO Rich Haig says these partners requested that Herman Kay supply RFID hangtags on its outerwear. “From a customer service and marketing point of view, it was something we needed to do to support our customers,” he explains. (more…)