Comprehensive Supplier Trainings to Realise Tagging at Source
"The trainings have been well received by our suppliers. We are glad to partner with GS1 Hong Kong and the program has provided an ideal platform to spread knowledge of RFID and global standards to those manufacturers who have never been in touch with GS1 standards."
-- Joachim Wilkens, Head of Supply Chain Development C&A Buying GmbH & Co. KG.
The rapid growth of omni-channel retailing has not only altered consumer behaviours, but is also constantly reshaping the business strategies. The benefits of RFID in retail marketing is hardly refutable, as it enables higher level security, a more accurate inventory tracking and the obtainment of analytic frontline data for better consumer research. More and more companies have turned to RFID Item Level Tagging (ILT). But in Asia, many apparel suppliers are still new to this technology. To leverage the power of RFID to fuel success to omnichannel retailing, C&A had to familiarize about 600 manufacturers with this technology.
Prior to its partnership with GS1, C&A did not adopt RFID in any of its product, making difficult to provide a standardised training for its suppliers stationed in various countries, speaking different languages. The proposed large-scale, aggressive rollout in a short period of time is the major challenge.
GS1 Standards used
- Global Trade Item Number (GTIN)
- Electronic Product Code (EPC)
- RFID Item-level tagging (ILT) Supplier Support Programme
In 2014, GS1 HK was appointed as the Program Manager in Asia Pacific Region to support the training for C & A’s suppliers in the Asian region. A total of three supplier training sessions were conducted on behalf of the client in Hong Kong, Bangladesh and Shanghai. The training aims to introduce 80 representatives of C&A and its suppliers to the fundamental knowledge about EPC, RFID and specific tagging requirements.
After it tested RFID in a pilot scheme in 2014-15, C&A decided to proceed with roll-out preparation in November 2015. GS1 Hongkong and GS1 Germany have been asked to support C&A‘s supplier onboarding. By September 2016, around 240 stores in France and around 100 in Germany needed to be operative with RFID. More than 450 suppliers needed to be trained comprehensively by the end of February 2016.
GS1 developed EPC/RFID Tagging Guideline and standardised, tailor-made training materials, which are the foundation of onboarding. To cater for the suppliers across countries, materials are localised in several languages, including Chinese, Italian, French, English, Turkish and German.
Within 6 weeks, more than 250 suppliers have been trained, with 19 sessions held in 11 countries. More than 500 people have been trained by April 2016. GS1 HK covered hubs in Hong Kong, China and Bangladesh. Suppliers are also certified for RFID Level Tagging (Level 1) after they passed a test.
The solutions and services provided by GS1 have brought a threefold win to C&A, the local suppliers, as well as the consumers.
- GS1 onboarding sessions were able to educate a large number of suppliers in a very short period of time, and provided a solid basis of success to the RFID project.
- The implementation of RFID enabled C&A to catch up with the trend of omnichannel retailing by leveraging the power of RFID.
To local suppliers and manufacturers:
- Have got a quick overview of GS1 standards and understand of the advantages the standards bring to supply chain.
- As RFID are highly sought after all over the world, suppliers are powered with RFID knowledge and certified with item level tagging techniques, enable them to better serve customers meeting the supply chain visibility need.
- As RFID enables faster and more accurate inventory and easier item search, information like item location and availability could be obtained fast and enjoy a more pleasant shopping experience.
About the company
Founded in 1841 in the Netherlands, C&A is a familyowned international Dutch chain of fashion retail clothing stores. With its European head offices in Vilvoorde, Belgium, and Düsseldorf, Germany, it now has 1575 stores across Europe and 35700 employees worldwide. Embracing the values ‘acts responsibly in everything we do’, C&A is committed to leading the industry toward greater accountability, lower costs, coupled with higher quality and a more sustainable approach. For generations, C&A has successfully led the way in offering more affordable clothes in the latest styles and fashion.