Retail mapping systems and big data prove that the location you choose in which to place inventory is no laughing matter. When a customer requests a certain item that is not on a store shelf, you want to find that item quickly and easily so that the customer is satisfied. If you do not have the item in the back of the store, you also want to be able to locate which warehouse is holding the item. Here is how you can do all of the above.
The RFID Chip
RFID chips have been used for years on pets to track their whereabouts and restore lost pets to their owners. However, they have been used much longer than that to track inanimate objects, such as cars in the manufacturing line, or in clothing to track lost children. With the high success rate of tracking items, the RFID chips have now been adapted for use in warehouses and "back-of-house" areas in retail stores. This enables an RFID inventory navigation system. Such a system keeps warehouses and back-of-house areas very well organized.
Using the Chips in Conjunction With Retail Mapping Systems
There are a couple different definitions for "retail mapping systems," but the one discussed here refers to the way in which things in your store or warehouse are stored. If you have a pallet filled with "drink and wet" dolls, and a customer comes in looking for such a doll, you want to know immediately where this pallet of dolls are kept. You can scan the store shelf where the doll would ordinarily be on display. With your handheld scanner, the computer inside looks for the coordinating RFID chipped pallet. It then tells you exactly where the pallet is, how many of the dolls are on the pallet, and whether or not the pallet is in the store or at the warehouse.
Better still, the mapping system "draws" you a map of where to find the pallet, if it is in the store. Then you can walk into the back of the store, find the pallet, scan the pallet's RFID chip, enter the number of dolls you intend to pull from the pallet to place on the store shelf, and hit "ENTER." The updated information is automatically sent to the store or warehouse computer, all handheld inventory scanners are updated within an hour or two.
Finding the Item at a Company Warehouse
If the item in question is actually located at a company warehouse, you can call the warehouse and request a location. You can also use the warehouse's retail mapping system to find out where they are keeping the pallet of dolls (or whatever other product a customer is looking for). If the store's mapping system is linked to the warehouse's system (which can be done), then you can find any item your store sells and know exactly where it is and how to get the item for the customer.
Ordering and Relocating Merchandise Is Easy Too
So, if you have several items sell out in the store, you can first check your inventory in the back, and then check the warehouse system. If some or all of your needed inventory is in the warehouse, the warehouse crew will use their handheld scanners to find the related RFID shelf/pallet, scan out the number of items requested by your store, and then put the items on a truck. Depending on the distance between the warehouse and your store, it may take about three days to a week to get your shipment from the warehouse, but, because of the RFID chips and the tracking and mapping systems, you can always check to see where your shipment is in transit.
Reach out to companies like Stealth Matrix to learn more about retail mapping systems.Share
28 March 2018
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