In The News

October 12th, 2017

New life to labels: KC Lau, CEO of SML Group

The radio-frequency identification (RFID) labeling system uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. Predominantly used in the retail space, the technology has the potential to drastically improve supply-chain productivity. This is something that SML Group is capitalizing upon.

The CEO Magazine sat down with SML Group’s CEO KC Lau to learn more about RFID, the benefits it brings, and the potential it has if introduced to other industry segments such as food and beverage or pharmaceutical.


September 29th, 2017

Happy returns?

The returns epidemic is one of the biggest concerns facing retailers so what can be done about it? Dean Frew, CTO & SVP RFID Solutions at SML Group, offers a solution

The retail industry is currently facing an epidemic. In the past, commentators weighed in on trends such as ‘the death of the highstreet,’ how to obtain and retain brand loyalty and how to improve customer experience. 

However, whilst the industry was debating these issues, another challenge began emerging. A challenge that could be costing retailers significant profits – the returns epidemic.


September 25th, 2017

RFID market growing around 30% per year, SML says

RFID tagging can slash those stats, and SML’s Dean Frew told Supply Chain Dive that the method is likely to emerge as the leading inventory management technology. “As omnichannel models become more critical for retailers, inventory accuracy strategies must change and RFID is emerging as the only viable option,” Frew said in an email to Supply Chain Dive.

But Frew said there are still challenges to the widespread implementation of RFID tagging, and the main problem is intense complexity.


September 22nd, 2017

RFID and the Returns Epidemic

The retail industry is currently facing an epidemic. In the past, commentators weighed in on trends such as the death of the high street, how to obtain and retain brand loyalty and how to improve the customer experience. However, while the industry was debating these issues, another challenge began emerging: a challenge that could be costing retailers significant profits—the returns epidemic.

According to a report by the Financial Times, the average returned product passes through seven pairs of hands before it arrives back to a store. In the United Kingdom alone, it is estimated that returned items are costing retailers an average of £60 billion ($80 billion) a year. (more…)

August 30th, 2017

How fast are Retailers adopting RFID?

18 months ago, we conducted a deep analysis of the industry to look at where to focus our own business strategies. While dissecting public information and mentions of units sold among apparel and footwear retailers (with at least 40 stores located in the U.S. and Europe). Following this research, we noticed that whilst tag growth was growing steadily, the number of stores actually adopting RFID was still relatively low.

In our bottoms-up market analysis (retailers and brand owners with more than 40 stores) we estimate that the total annual market for tags is between 35 and 37 billion tags and that there are approximately 200,000 stores in that same apparel and footwear market.   Thus, we estimate the market penetration in US and Europe to be around 8 percent at the end of 2016.


July 26th, 2017

New Technology That Can Turn Brick & Mortar Stores Into Hi-Tech Stores Of The Future

Originally posted on Huffington Post.

With every product from toilet paper to diamond rings available online, brick and mortar retailers are struggling to keep customer attention. Physical stores are closing their doors at an alarming pace. JC Penney is poised to close up to 140 stores this year, and Moody’s Investors Service report warns that 18 other big retailers are at risk. A new era in retailing is needed.

To retain ever-demanding shoppers who have come to expect same-day delivery, dazzling customer service, and pinpoint targeted marketing that seeks to anticipate what the customer will want next, traditional stores need to step up their game. Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) can help traditional retailers make it happen.

An RFID device is a small tag or label programmed with information that retailers can attach to anything. Unlike a bar code, a passive retail RFID tag or label enables every item to have a serial number and can be scanned from a variety of distances, typically over 10 feet. The technology has been around for about 50 years, but only recently became affordable enough for common use. About 8% of retailers have fully deployed RFID and are experiencing measurable results and ROI.


June 22nd, 2017

How fast are Retailers adopting RFID?

Whilst many retailers have in mind to test and implement RFID technology, the reality is most organisations are planted in the present and the targeted goal remains a complete contrast to current deployment rates.

This is where the statistical confusion of RFID adoption comes from. The statistics broadly adopted by retailers, take into account those in the planning stages of adopting RFID or in the initial trial stage but often in reality only have a few items that are tagged and in circulation within the supply chain. Compare this with the true figure of 4 to 8 percent, which only takes into account the retailers who are fully using the technology and have finished rolling it out.


June 7th, 2017

Why Omnichannel Could be the High Street’s Saviour

Despite seeing more and more retailers close their doors, some high street shops are fighting back and seeing the benefits of implementing the latest technology solutions as part of their ongoing strategies. According to a report by World Pay into the Role of Omni-Channel Payments in Driving Business Growth, omnichannel shoppers spend between 50-300% more than consumers who use just one channel to do their shopping. This is because they have the flexibility to start shopping on one device, move to another and have every option of delivery or pickup available to them. Ultimately, retailers are rewarded for utilising technology and providing customers with a seamless omnichannel experience.

Large retailers such as Tesco have started to see a significant boost in sales since catching onto this and are now working towards providing consumers with continuity when doing their shopping. Not only this but these retailers are having to continually meet the demands of the ever-growing appeal of a fast transaction process. Consumers have started to expect the ability to choose when and how they get their products, whether it be through 24-hour delivery or a click and collect option.


June 5th, 2017

A Seat at the Table

Despite its many talents, RFID has never really had a seat at the logistics table. But with an increasing desire for transparency, will the qualities of the technology finally be realised? Alex Leonards reports.

RFID is considered a mature technology by some, including Uwe Henning, chief executive of real-time analytics company Detego. Henning considers the technology to be well-developed and used in closed loop applications like asset tracking and automotive logistics.

But last year Detego, which specialises in providing transparency for the fashion industry, finally saw RFID finding its feet in the fashion retail supply chain. Detego’s growth is chiefly coming from this sector.


June 1st, 2017

Why Omni-Channel Could Save the High Street

Within the past decade, retailers have shifted their focus from physical stores to an “online-only” strategy. This is in part due to rising costs of owning and operating physical stores, the higher profit margins for online retailers and also the technological advances that have led to consumers being able to purchase goods from any device.