RFID: The Key to Digitizing Loss Prevention

Produced by


Joe Coll

VP of Asset Protection Operations & Strategy Macy's Inc.

Dr. Read Hayes

Loss Prevention Retail Council (LPRC)

Dr. Bill C. Hardgrave

University of Memphis

Marshall Kay

Global Director, Retail Transformation Services
Avery Dennison

In an era where the retail landscape is constantly evolving, the pressing challenge of loss prevention and the dynamic opportunities offered by Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology have come to the forefront. During this highly engaging session (held at NRF 2024 earlier this year) led by Marshall Kay, Global Director of Retail Transformation Services at Avery Dennison, a panel of experts delved deep into how RFID is revolutionizing loss prevention and inventory management in retail. The session featured insights from Joe Coll, VP of Asset Protection Operations & Strategy at Macy's Inc.; Dr. Bill C. Hardgrave, President of the University of Memphis; and Dr. Read Hayes, Director of the Loss Prevention Retail Council (LPRC).

Marshall Kay set the stage by highlighting Avery Dennison's leadership in connecting the digital and physical realms. He emphasized the transformative potential of RFID technology in addressing loss prevention, detection, and visibility. "When everything is connected, everything changes," Marshall noted, underscoring the broad applicability of RFID across various price points and merchandise types, including items as diverse as fragrances and frying pans.

Dr. Bill C. Hardgrave provided an overview of the crucial role inventory accuracy plays in retail success. He shared a study revealing the rapid deterioration of inventory accuracy within weeks of annual counts, largely due to shrinkage. This insight underscored the necessity for more frequent and accurate inventory assessments.

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Joe Coll shared Macy's journey with RFID, detailing how the technology enabled the iconic retailer to compress annual inventory cycle counts from 12 months to just 30 days. This advancement has allowed Macy's to adopt smarter strategies for addressing loss, with RFID offering unparalleled visibility into the movement of merchandise. "Every 30 days, we got a report card on what we were missing inside of our stores," Joe stated, highlighting the operational benefits of RFID in combating theft and enhancing inventory management.

Dr. Read Hayes discussed the integration of RFID data with other technologies, such as sensors and security cameras, to create a comprehensive understanding of loss events. He pointed out the importance of RFID in building stronger cases against serial offenders and enhancing collaboration with law enforcement.

The panelists also explored the challenges and complexities of implementing RFID technology in retail. They discussed the importance of leveraging RFID for more frequent inventory cycle counts, integrating RFID data for a complete picture of loss events, and using RFID data to inform law enforcement and combat organized retail crime.

In closing, the session underscored the consensus among the panelists on the transformative impact of RFID technology on loss prevention and inventory management. "RFID is table stakes," Dr. Bill C. Hardgrave remarked, emphasizing that retailers not leveraging RFID are at a competitive disadvantage. Joe Coll echoed this sentiment, calling RFID a "game changer" for Macy's and the retail industry at large.

This discussion not only illuminated the potential of RFID technology in revolutionizing retail loss prevention but also provided actionable insights for retailers looking to harness the power of RFID to enhance their operations and combat retail crime.

MAY 2024