In The News

May 24th, 2017

Is Universal RFID Adoption a Done Deal in the Apparel Industry?

According to recent news, statistics and insight from industry experts about the apparel business and omnichannel retailing, universal RFID adoption is a done deal within the industry. Or is it?

Recent statistics reported by retail analysts, industry groups and retailers themselves state that RFID usage numbers range from 50 percent to 96 percent. However, these numbers are inaccurate and overly optimistic as the actual pace of RFID adoption is far slower and more methodical than previously thought.


May 17th, 2017

RFID Deployment is Overstated, Industry Exec Says

Many bullish assessments indicate US retailers, specifically soft goods retailers, are adopting item-level RFID in huge percentages, anywhere from 50-96%, depending on the source.

Not so, says RFID industry veteran Dean Frew, currently CTO and SVP RFID Solutions for SML Group, in a series of guest columns in trade magazines in recent weeks.


May 1st, 2017

How Fast is Retail Adopting RFID?

Originally posted on Apparel.

If recent news and information about the apparel business and omnichannel retailing are any indication, universal RFID adoption is an industry fait accompli.

Except when it isn’t. Not yet, anyway.

Statistics from retail reporters, industry groups and retailers themselves share RFID usage numbers ranging from 50 percent to 96 percent. In actuality, these numbers are inaccurate, exceedingly optimistic, and obscure the actual realistic pace of RFID adoption, which is far slower and more methodical.

While the aim among retailers to integrate RFID technology into their operations rates is near 100 percent, actual deployment of full RFID systems still hovers in the single digits.

Read Full Article


April 26th, 2017

Packaging is the Latest Trend in Cosmetics

For many years, retailers struggled to manage little items such as cosmetics, jewelry and fragrances because they are often too small to be tagged effectively. This challenge has led to billions in lost profit due to stolen or misplaced inventory. Recent advancements in RFID technology, however, are allowing organizations to implement smart packaging that not only reduces and eliminates inventory shrinkage but also provides a security system that is trackable throughout the entire supply chain.

Click here to read our recent article, Packaging is the Latest Trend in Cosmetics, in this month’s Packaging Gazette, to learn more about how RFID technology is helping retailers overcome the challenges of the past and accurately manage even their smallest products.

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…)