Global fashion retailer Kookai has cut inventory counts from a few days to 30 minutes as a result of implementing radio frequency identification (RFID), from Avery Dennison at its manufacturing facilities in Fiji and Sri Lanka.
The project is at the heart of Kookai’s omnichannel strategy: ultimately, all clothing and stores will be equipped with RFID enabling it to precisely track all items within its supply chain, speed up check out times, enable online orders to be fulfilled from local stores and provide consumers with extra information about the products they enjoy via new interactive experiences.
Kookai has tagged all the garments it manufactures with an integrated RFID Printed Fabric Label (PFL) catering for multiple languages. In partnership with Sensormatic Solutions TrueVUE Cloud platform, Avery Dennison has been able to offer an RFID solution that is able to capture and manage the item-level data, enabling the brand to track the inventory process from production to quality control and then to finished goods. This has delivered dramatic productivity improvements. At the Fiji factory, Kookai data indicates that 30,000 items can be counted in just 30 minutes – a process that used to take a few days. Kookai is also experiencing benefits in-store by reducing its out-of-stocks and gaining visibility into inventory levels so that re-stocks can be increased ahead of time for fast-selling items.
Amelia Adey, loss prevention and compliance manager at Kookai Australia explains: “We wanted to remove any customer dissatisfaction due to out-of-stock items or missed sales due to inventory not being accurately represented in our stock file. Stocktakes can be done daily now instead of on a twice-yearly basis which enables us to provide accurate stock updates to our customers in real time. Having control over the majority of our supply chain due to owning our own factories, made the implementation of RFID an obvious choice in achieving these goals.”
Kookai produces most clothing in their own factories and has full control over tagging items at the manufacturing site. The next phase of the project is underway to extend visibility even further to its remaining suppliers which will also tag each item. This will give even greater visibility as to where raw materials are sourced and where they are in transit to help iron out any supply chain bottlenecks. It also means that any products Kookai has not produced itself deliver the same in-store benefits for staff and their customers and effectively eliminates the need for any stock to be counted or tracked manually.
Amelia Adey adds: “By digitising the stock receipting process we can eliminate the need for manual counting of deliveries, leaving our sales assistants free to put the focus back on the customers rather than administration. We have been able to significantly reduce our stock availability buffers on our “Find in Store” function online, with confidence that the stock will actually be available.”
Future stages of this project include integration into the Kookai point of sale system, so barcodes are replaced by RFID at the till, allowing transactions to be completed in seconds with no scanning required. Kookai is also exploring the possibility of RFID readers in the changing rooms to provide further customer service, and to collect metrics on product sell-through. Longer-term, Kookai is assessing the use of RFID to enhance the traceability of its production and raw materials and to be able to convey its ethics and sustainability story to its customers.
Uwe Hennig, director, global RFID market development at Avery Dennison Smartrac concludes: “This is an exciting project to be part of. Kookai is looking to implement RFID at every stage of its production, supply chain and retail experience. Already we have seen the dramatic gains from inventory visibility but as this progresses, we look forward to helping them make further improvements as we capture and analyse more and more data that comes with digitising its operations.”
Steve Schenk, sales director for inventory intelligence, Australia, New Zealand, at Sensormatic Solutions, says: “This has been an incredible journey for Kookai and has involved many stakeholders along the way but the leadership of the business has always been laser focussed on the benefits RFID will deliver. We’re extremely proud that our TrueVUE Cloud application has been chosen to capture and manage accurate, item-level data in real time across the manufacturing and store network so that the Kookai team can make informed business decisions and delight their customers. We’re extremely excited for what lies ahead.”