Achieving perfect stock filing in stores becomes almost impossible when the data received is already tainted by inaccuracies. Therefore, to ensure a clean start in stores, it's crucial to take a step back examine DC (Distribution Center) operations, and fix any inaccuracies that accrued before inventory arrived in stores. In this blog post, we will examine some of the retail DC’s bind spots and how to utilize RFID technology to gain control and promote a smooth end-to-end supply chain.

The retail distribution center Challenges

DCs and warehouses play a very important role in retail’s supply chain success. Any errors in these processes can have a ripple effect, impacting the entire business. Here are common blind spots that tend to disrupt retail stock filing:

Blind shipment validation

DCs serve as the arrival points for sourced seasonal inventory, upon arrival, inventory is accepted at these centers and subsequently allocated to stores and final destinations. Hence, DCS need to have high stock accuracy.

Unfortunately, in today's real-world scenarios, most distribution centers and warehouses cannot conduct qualified validation for the accepted stock coming in. Instead, they tend to count boxes or pallets only in the good case, and sometimes they don’t even count at all but trust the shipping certificate only.

Naturally, this creates an opportunity for manufacturers to supply less than reported or incorrect items without detection. Although it might seem like a small oversight, in reality, it can result in lost deals and poor customer experiences.

Fraudulent store returns to DC

Another challenge faced by retail DCs is the return processes from stores back to the warehouse. It is common for stores to ship back to the DC after the season is over to clear space for the next season. Stores receive a return list, yet warehouses lack the means to verify if the correct quantity and items were sent back.

As a result, store employees may exploit this situation by pilfering items while falsely claiming they've been returned to the DC.

H3 Unsynchronized eCommerce and online operations

In most retail businesses, the DC also accounts for eCommerce fulfillment. A widespread issue in online stores is items appear in stock but are not. This happens due to false records, unfortunately,  the absence of the item is only noticed when they initiate a search for it to prepare for shipment.

The second online inventory struggle is the opposite, items that seem out of stock when available. This actually a result of a precautionary method, where the business intentionally sets a safety stock bar, where every number below will show as zero/out of stock, to avoid selling items that aren’t in stock.

In both cases, you lose the deal and sometimes you lose a client.

RFID solution for distribution centers

RFID technology is widely used in retail stores and has proved to improve accuracy, traceability, and enhance sales. However, RFID technology can also be implemented in DCs to detect errors, enhance accuracy, and refine processes before products reach the stores.

With its non-line-of-sight capability, RFID assists in quickly validating shipments, creating certifications, and providing accurate inventory counts. This not only contributes to overall organizational health but also addresses retail chargebacks, streamlines online operations for better user experiences, and enhances decision-making through comprehensive data analysis.

This solution automates stock-taking through smart gates that swiftly count and verify the quantity and contents of boxes. Consequently, it saves significant time and boosts employee satisfaction.

In conclusion, the challenges within retail DCs demand proactive solutions. RFID technology emerges as a game-changer, offering precise validation, enhanced accuracy, and streamlined processes. Its implementation not only saves time and boosts employee satisfaction but also fortifies the supply chain and ensures superior customer experiences, revolutionizing the landscape of retail logistics.

Looking for a trusted DC solution for your business? Get in touch with our team today!

The blog post was contributed by Guy Hayo, Chainlane's senior customer engagement manager, who has successfully installed countless of RFID solutions in retail businesses.