Achieving Supply Chain Efficiency with Microsoft Azure

The Coronavirus pandemic has given retailers the opportunity to review the ways in which they operate, their crisis management procedures, and how effective their supply chain truly is. As a result, Item-Level RFID in retail stores and supply chain will remain a key trend in retail in 2021. The need for increased inventory accuracy and supply chain efficiency is of paramount importance as stores begin to look to return to a normalized landscape post pandemic.

To help achieve this accuracy and efficiency, retailers have turned to SML’s enterprise-class RFID software Clarity®, delivered on Microsoft Azure’s cloud solutions. This software combination allows retailers to push their inventory accuracy to new levels, enhance customer service, and increase sales.

How can Microsoft Azure & SML RFID Clarity® help you?

SML RFID’s Clarity® software is helping retailers enhance their inventory accuracy far beyond anything a manual process would be capable of. Without RFID technology, a retail enterprise would require approximately 154,000 hours of labor to read 100 million barcode tags manually.

However, let’s consider a retail enterprise that has implemented Item-Level RFID technology and is now operating at 98% accuracy, usually an improvement of over 30%, a level that’s realistically unobtainable without an implemented RFID solution. The RFID technology is capable of reading hundreds of millions of items a week in less than 6,000 labor hours – equating to 1/25 of the labor effort it takes to read the same tags manually. This efficient approach to inventory management makes it reasonable to take weekly stock counts.

This dramatic and efficient increase in inventory accuracy results in improvements in inventory availability, resulting in increased sales. Generating a lift in both in-store and online sales, creating return-on-investments in less than 12 months. 

Through SML RFID’s partnership with Microsoft, our Clarity® software becomes far more scalable on a wider basis, making it easy to implement for thousands of retailers worldwide. With the increasing amount of data being processed each year, there is continually growing demand for a safe, scalable, and highly reliable cloud solution. Microsoft Azure’s outstanding data processing, capability, security, and scalability address this demand.

The big learning for retailers

Since the Covid-19 pandemic halted the world for more than a year, few industries have changed more than the retail sector. For the first time, the retail industry saw an entire pipeline clear out and restart over three billion units a month. When the pipeline was reinitiated, shops and factories reopened, but retailers weren’t buying to continue the restart.

The biggest recognition was that retailers who used item-level RFID were coming out of the crisis much more effectively than those who weren’t.

Having the capabilities to achieve better efficiency within your supply chain and accuracy in your inventory is critical for retailers to bounce back. It is well understood that increased inventory accuracy will help retailers improve customer service and drive sales. It also gives businesses a far more visible and efficient supply chain. Retailers have an opportunity to view all of their stock globally in record time and with minimal effort when they leverage RFID technology to obtain a real-time view of their inventory.

The Future of RFID in Fashion is SML & Microsoft Azure

As more retailers adopt RFID technology, accompanied by single tenant Clarity® software and on a Microsoft Azure platform, other retailers will follow suit. Those who don’t implement an effective RFID solution will find themselves falling behind competitors and failing to capitalize in areas like omnichannel sales that could be solidified through RFID. Those retailers will experience an increased amount of excess inventory, shortages of specific products needed to fulfill demand, and disappointed customers who will turn to competitors who can provide better and more reliable service.

As we exit the COVID-19 pandemic, customers will be looking to make a return to physical shopping. Retailers should be prepared to have a system in place to deal with increased demand, a faster-flowing supply pipeline, and consumers that are willing to pay more for an on-demand omnichannel shopping experience – an experience you can only offer effectively through the implementation of RFID technology.

To find out more on how you can achieve supply chain efficiency through RFID, contact [email protected]