Big Data and RFID in the Retail Industry: Real World Uses and Examples
Big Data and RFID in the Retail Industry: Real World Uses and Examples
Want to make improve efficiency in the retail industry? These uses for RFID tags are changing the protocol for inventory and product tracking.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
Digi-Key Electronics’ Internet of Things (IoT) Resource Center Inspires the Future: Read More
Through this tutorial, you will learn how big data applications are used in the retail sector, along with RFID in retail. You will learn concepts related to big data in the retail industry, like retail asset management, production tracking in retails industry, inventory control, shipment, regulatory compliance, and service and warranty authorizations and many other retail big data use cases with examples.
2. Use of Big Data in Retail Industry
With the growth of the retail industry, millions of transactions have spread across multiple disconnected legacy systems. Because of this, it is impossible to see the full picture of the data that is getting generated as retail stores typically run on legacy POS systems that batch updates on a daily basis and often do not communicate with each other. Daily updates are provided and the systems do not interact with each other.
Due to increasing market size, it can be an impossible task for a marketing analyst to understand the strength of their product or campaign and go about reconciling the data. Transaction data in its raw form helps a company understand its sales patterns. Savvy retailers can use big data, combining data from web browsing patterns, social media, industry forecasts, existing customer records, and many other data sources, to predict trends, prepare for demand, pinpoint customers, optimize pricing and promotions, and monitor real-time analytics and results.
3. Use of RFID Data in Retail
Let's look at the use of RFID in the retail industry.
A radio frequency identification (RFID) tag is a small tag that contains a unique serial number. It is placed on objects like shipping pallets or product packages. The tag can be attached to all sorts of things like merchandise, shipping containers, vehicles, etc. An electronic scanner can then use radio signals to read or track the ID tag.
For example, to check inventory, a warehouse worker might use a hand-held RFID reader. The data on the tags might be numbers only, but, once scanned, the numbers can be checked against a computer database to know exactly what the company has on hand. This can be used for identifying situations where no unit of a particular item is available on the shelf in the retail environment. In this manner, it helps to better track shelf availability.
Various applications of RFID tags in retail are asset management, production tracking, and shipping and receiving. RFID usage isn’t limited to the retail sector only. The pharmaceutical industry is already exploring how RFID tags could help identify counterfeit, and potentially harmful, drugs.
4. More Uses of RFID in Retail
Let's look at a few more uses of RFID in Retail:
- Asset Management — By using RFID tags, expensive tools or equipment can be located when workers need them, eliminating labor-intensive, manual searches.
- Production Tracking – Using RFID tags on raw materials in the production process can allow manufacturers to gain real-time visibility of work in progress
- Inventory Control – With RFID, overall inventory levels can be improved by companies that will reduce labor costs and safety stocks.
- Shipping and Receiving – Manifest information encoded in an RFID tag could be read by the sending or receiving organization to simplify the shipment or receiving process.
- Regulatory Compliance – Companies that transport or process hazardous and regulated materials can record the time they receive and transfer the material on an RFID tag.
- Service and Warranty Authorizations – Authenticating the product and customer with proprietary information can be used to authorize warranty and service work.
5. Asset Management
RFID can help in asset management as seen below:
- RFID tags can be permanently attached to capital equipment and fixed assets.
- Fixed-position readers placed at strategic points within a facility can automatically track the movement and location. This information can be used to quickly locate tools or devices to avoid lengthy, manual searches.
- Readers can be set to sound alarms and alert supervisor if there is an attempt to remove tagged items from an authorized area.
- Customers are able to locate assets quickly and accurately as RFID technology reads multiple tags at once without requiring a line of sight.
6. Production Tracking
RFID has been used in a number of practical applications, such as improving supply chain management, tracking household pets, and accessing office buildings.
- By applying RFID tags to raw materials in a production process, manufacturers can gain accurate, real-time visibility of the work-in-progress.
- Companies can improve inventory levels and reduce labor costs and safety stocks by using the highly accurate, real-time, unattended monitoring capability of RFID for tracking raw materials' progress and finished goods inventory.
- Direct store delivery and other remote sales and service personnel can take advantage of RFID readers that are integrated with mobile computers for accurate counting of inventory, whether found in stores or in a vehicle, which will further reduce labor cost and help with better production tracking.
RFID technology can be used to track products similar to barcode technology, but RFID also carries additional benefits. It does not need line of sight to read the tag but has a longer read range as compared to a barcode reader, and tags can store more data than barcodes.
7. Shipment, Regulatory Compliance, and Service and Warranty Authorizations
RFID technology is used for transferring data, automatically identifying and tracking tags that are attached to objects, and contain electronically stored information.
Various other uses of RFID include:
- Items or pallets with RFID tags can be read as they are assembled into a complete customer order or shipment for a better shipment process.
- Manifest information encoded in an RFID tag could be read by the receiving organization to simplify the receiving process.
- Companies that transport or process hazardous and regulated materials can record the time they receive and transfer the material on an RFID tag.
- Authenticating the product and customer with proprietary information can be used to authorize warranty and service work.
Logistics and transportation are major areas of RFID technology implementation. In the railroad industry, RFID tags identify the owner, identification number, and type of equipment. This can be used with a database to identify the source, destination, etc. of the commodities being carried.
RFID technology is being incorporated to support maintenance on commercial aircraft. RFID tags are used to identify baggage and cargo at several airports and airlines.
In this manner, big data helps the retail industry in understanding market trends. Follow this guide to learn about big data use in different sectors.
Published at DZone with permission of Shailna Patidar . See the original article here.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.