Department store chain improves inventory accuracy with RFID
The Bon-Ton Stores is speeding up how it restocks merchandise.
The department store chain is replacing its manual, paper-based restocking process with a radio frequency identification (RFID)-based system. The solution, from Zebra, enables store associates to fully restock merchandise displays in a fraction of the time — a move that increases productivity and enables associates to spend more time servicing shoppers.
As soon as associates arrive for their shift in the morning, they scan the selling floor using the RFID-enabled readers to compare items on display against on-hand inventories. This process helps them identify missing items that should be on the sales floor. According to store audits, up to 20% of merchandise in certain categories might be missing from the sales floor during a given week, resulting in missed sales opportunities.
The solution also allows store associates to scan and tag new merchandise as it first arrives in-store so it can be immediately placed on display, leading to quicker item availability for shoppers and increased sales. The RFID technology also provides deeper visibility into what merchandise is available at all times, which increases inventory management efficiencies.
The solution is available in more than 180 Bon-Ton department stores.
“We look forward to expanding this rollout to include additional use cases across all of our stores in support of our omnichannel strategy to support our customers’ changing shopping habits,” said Lisa Celebre, VP of store operations, The Bon-Ton Stores.
Bon-Ton Stores operates 261 stores in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains regions under the Bon-Ton, Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Younkers banners.
Aldi’s newest fulfillment center planned for Arizona
A German discount grocer is buying up land in the Grand Canyon State — but not to open stores.
Aldi is planning to open a regional fulfillment center in Goodyear, Arizona. The facility will house an office and distribution center, and will create 132 jobs, according to the Phoenix Business Journal.
Aldi is purchasing 27 acres of land from Goodyear for $3.6 million, and another 42 acres from developer Sunbelt Holdings. The facility is expected to open by 2020, although the timeline could change, the report said.
The new facility is positioned to support Aldi’s aggressive nationwide store expansion. With plans on becoming the third-largest American food retailer by store count, behind Walmart and Kroger, Aldi said it plans to invest $3.4 billion to open 900 stores by the end of 2022, giving it 2,500 stores nationwide.
The grocer currently operates approximately 1,600 stores in 35 U.S. states. Earlier this year, Aldi announced it would invest $1.6 billion to remodel 1,300 of its stores by 2020.
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Online giant to open robotics-based facility in Michigan
Amazon is expanding its distribution fleet in the Wolverine state in a big way.
The online giant plans to open an 855,000-sq.-ft. fulfillment center in Romulus, Michigan — it’s second in the state. The facility will create more than 1,500 new full-time associate roles.
Associates will pick, pack, and ship smaller customer items, such as books, electronics and toys. However, these tasks will be streamlined by technology from Amazon Robotics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amazon.com.
Among the solutions designed by the division include autonomous mobile robots, sophisticated control software, language perception, power management, computer vision, depth sensing, machine learning, object recognition, and semantic understanding of commands. These solutions will create what is described as a “highly technological workplace,” according to Amazon.
The online retailer continues to bolster its distribution fleet with these sophisticated solutions. Amazon recently announced that its new facility in South Florida will feature Amazon Robotics. The warehouse, which is dubbed a “mega warehouse,” is set to open in 2018.
Amazon is also opening robotics-based distribution centers in Colorado and in Connecticut.