Nov 25, 2020Italian fashion brand Herno has deployed an RFID system for loss prevention, inventory management and supply chain logistics, leveraging reader technology that is invisible at its stores. With the solution implemented at 10 of its global retail sites, Herno maintains each store’s aesthetic. When shoppers enter one of those stores, they are surrounded by greenery in keeping with the surrounding landscape, rather than technology. The RFID system is strategically deployed to accomplish product visibility without drawing attention to itself.
The system, provided by technology integrator Solos, consists of Keonn’s RFID readers, kiosks and software. The solution includes a combination of fixed readers according to each store’s design, as well as a reader station used at the point of sale to deactivate the UHF RFID tags sewn into each garment’s care label. All installations consist of hardware hidden either under the floor, in the ceiling or in the walls, enabling the entrance to remain completely unobstructed. The store’s aesthetics can thus be centered around natural environments and the products being sold there.
Herno has been offering outerwear, such as jackets and coats, in Italy since the end of World War II. During the past few years, the company has been growing globally, in part due to a new strategy focused around product engineering, flagship store sales and the natural experience provided to shoppers there. The company began planning the RFID solution with Solos in 2015, according to Alessandro Vivarelli, Solos’ CEO. At the time, Herno sought visibility into its luxury coats and jackets as they moved through the supply chain, with inventory counting in stores and the identification of each item that might leave the premises without being purchased.
From the outset, aesthetics were uniquely important to Herno, the company reports. It did not want to visually obstructive towers or sensors that might come with most EAS systems, and it didn’t want hard tags attached to its products. Instead, the company required small RFID labels for the garments sold at its stores, as well as printers to print and encode labels if goods arrived without them. The Keonn software collects and manages data, while Solos’ R-Link forwards the resulting information to the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
Solos chose to implement a combination of Keonn’s AdvanSafe-200, AdvanMat-300 and AdvanGate systems, and each store also employs Keonn’s AdvanPay-160 station for tag deactivation. “Keonn’s products are built and designed to be invisible or perfectly camouflaged in store furniture,” Vivarelli says, adding that this met Herno’s requirements.
The tag’s small size posed a potential reading challenge, though Solos tested the tags at Keonn’s laboratory and designed each installation accordingly. A pilot was first launched at Herno’s Milan store, known as Via Montenapoleone. For the pilot, the store installed RFID technology at the doorway, deactivation station and point of sale. Following that, the company opted in 2018 to commence the full deployment. At each store, the read data is stored on the premises. However, Vivarelli says, “[The] next steps will be