Affiliations: Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Parma, Parma, Italy
Note:  Corresponding author: Massimo Bertolini, Eng., Ph.D., Assistant Professor-Mechanical Industrial Plants, Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Parma, Via G.P. Usberti 181/A, 43124 Parma, Italy. Tel.: +39 0521 905861; Fax: +39 0521 905705; E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: The paper shows how to leverage RFID technology in fresh fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry, and, in particular, to optimally manage stock levels on shelves, shelves replenishment, and shrinkage prevention for fresh perishable products. We deployed a pilot project on a FMCG retail supply chain, encompassing a distribution centre and two stores of a major Italian retailer. About 60 products have been RFID tagged at case level. We real time tracked cases of products for 4 months, through the distribution chain all the way to the stores, where the RFID deployment made it possible to punctually monitor shelves stock levels, backroom stock levels and product shrinkage. We demonstrate that the out of stock (OOS) problem is just one piece of a broader picture, that is shelves stock optimization. The higher the stock level on the shelves, the lower the need for shelf replenishment, and thus the likelihood of an OOS. However, the capital holding costs and the risk for product shrinkage increase. The latter issue is particularly relevant for fresh perishable products. This pilot demonstrates that a retailer could reduce OOS, shrinkage and capital holding costs all together, by means of efficient RFID data management. Potential savings for fresh products account approx 1.7% of sale turnover. This study is the first pilot project which assesses the impact of RFID technology on the supply chain of fresh perishable products; a full roll-out of the project is being planned for the next future.
Keywords: RFID, out of stock, fresh perishable fast moving consumer goods, pilot study