Reducing errors to zero
Traditionally the process of inventorying stock is methodical yet plodding and grows in complexity the more locations and warehouses a retailer has. It can take weeks to get a precise picture. That wasn’t getting the job done for this retailer, who wanted to keep up with the heightened expectations of its clientele and satisfy their ever-changing fashion whims. That’s when the retailer turned to Detego and their RFID software solution.
In an interview, the retailer’s CIO laid out the reasoning behind partnering with Detego. “We started looking at the in-store manual processes which our stores have to perform to do their daily or weekly stock count or to process in-store transfers, and warehouse returns,” the CIO said. “It was also around gaining visibility for our omnichannel journey. If you look at those as different challenges, RFID provided a solution that enabled us to use technology to enhance all that.”
Detego worked with the retailer to pinpoint their exact needs—essentially transforming their standalone shops into makeshift distribution centers to accommodate an omnichannel customer experience—and began to roll out their solution to a handful of locations. With the help of Microsoft Azure cloud services—such as Data Lake, Databricks, API Management, and EventHub—and as part of Microsoft’s FastTrack program, Detego has spent years helping other retailers refine their stock accuracy.
“We are thrilled to be working with Microsoft,” said Leonid Sokolovskiy, Detego’s director of software development. “Hosting the platform on Azure has always been vital for us. As software specialists, we have always seen the performance and scope of our platform as our main point of difference, so we are looking forward to working with Microsoft to take the platform even further and build the definitive RFID solution for retail.”
Adopting a SaaS model to sustain a burgeoning demand across the sector, Detego’s platform digitally tagged every item in the retailer’s stock, making them readable via radio waves. Then, with the inventory management software activated, clerks can get an accurate read of what’s on the shop floor on a handheld device in as little as 20 minutes. More than one employee can do this at a time, and their results are synchronized for even greater accuracy. The RFID tags can be read without direct line-of-sight, meaning minimal physical involvement from staff, reducing error to near zero. The ease and speed of the technology allows each of the retailer’s 50 UK stores can perform stock takes daily, as opposed to several times a year.
An upswing in sales, and a path forward
By digitizing their stock takes with Detego and Microsoft over a rollout period of eight months, the retailer saw its accuracy swell by 99 percent. Leveraging such a massive gain in knowledge of what was in their stores meant fewer incidents of an item being out of stock in any one location, leading to more satisfied customers and eventually a four percent uptick in sales.
Armed with vastly improved data and a new direction with which to satisfy customers, the retailer is focusing on expanding its omnichannel experience, in addition to launching a line of children’s clothing. With the ongoing pandemic leaving the retail sector in flux, a precise picture of in-stock merchandise is essential to keeping a business ahead of its shoppers’ demands. In the words of another fashion icon, Detego’s industry-leading retail technologies “make it work.”