A Dutch bookseller has become the first large retailer to introduce item-level radio frequency identification tagging across its entire product range.
Boekhandels Groep Nederland (BGN), which holds 25,000 to 275,000 books in each of its 40 stores, has gone live with RFID in one of its largest stores.
Every book coming into the store has been tagged by the supplier, Centraal Bookhuis.
BGN said the roll-out had improved staff productivity because the morning stocktake is carried out automatically, with boxes of newly arrived books passing through an RFID scanner tunnel containing a three-dimensional ultra-high-frequency field.
Technology supplier Capturetech developed BGN’s three-dimensional reader to enable the retailer to read the tags on each book without having to open the box.
BGN chief technology officer Jan Vink said, “In the morning, the big stores will receive 150 boxes containing 20 to 40 books each. It takes employees two to five minutes for each box. With RFID, you do not have to open the box any more.”
The scanner can read the book tags in five seconds with a 99.9% success rate, said Vink.
The RFID roll-out at the first store cost £174,000, but Vink expects to cut total costs by £243,600 during 2006 from efficiency gains across the first two stores to install the system. A second store is due to introduce the system in the autumn.
BGN has yet to decide whether to reduce its staff as a result of the efficiency gains.
BGN’s outlay costs were reduced because Capturetech and Progress Software, which supplied the RFID platform, invested in the development of the technology for the bookseller. They plan to sell the RFID readers and the software to other retailers.
Capturetech is contracted to supply BGN with RFID technology for the next three years. Progress supplies the retailer’s core merchandising system.