A new study from Auburn University’s RFID Lab, “Project Zipper,” found RFID technology can help reach 100% order accuracy and could therefore eliminate claims costs in the supply chain. The 10-month study evaluated eight brands’ and five retailers’ use of legacy data (UPC codes) to audit advance shipping notices (ASN) upon receipt, compared to EPC/RFID data. Audits with legacy systems recorded an order inaccuracy 69% of the time, while RFID data did so with less than 0.01% of orders.
The result “is much, much higher than expected,” Justin Patton, director of the Auburn University RFID Lab, said in an email to Supply Chain Dive. However, the most surprising finding was not the fact there were errors in the legacy data, he said, “but just how much the industry as a whole has accepted the errors.”
“The supply chain data accuracy processes have been frozen in time for decades, and a lot of the brands and retailers are begging for improvements, which is how we were able to get so much user support,” said Patton.
Patton and his team at the Auburn University RFID Lab are not done with the study. The next phase, according to the report, is a deeper “failure analysis” to understand why, in some cases, EPC/RFID data did not exactly match with ASNs. This could be for one of nine reasons, including over-picking and under-picking, but data is currently being collected to help understand more and recommend corrective actions.
The Phase 1 report, however, already includes a list of recommendations for supplier and retailer use cases, based on the findings. It also proposed an ROI formula to help supply chain managers prove the technology’s benefits.