Nippon Express has begun utilizing electronic (RFID) tags and a proprietary warehouse management system (WMS) in undertaking high-fashion warehouse operations.

The apparel industry has long hoped that introducing RFID would boost the efficiency of goods distribution management, and accordingly some fast-fashion companies have adopted RFID. High-fashion brands, on the other hand, rely primarily on handmade production at multiple ateliers, which inherently makes it difficult to affix IC chips during production as is the most efficient practice, and few companies have made the move to RFID.

An increasingly young customer base has also given rise to greater EC business demand, requiring greater operational efficiency. Nippon Express says they have developed a new RFID-linked system to bring greater efficiency and labor-saving to warehouse operations and to enhance its services via new operations that utilize RFID.

The proprietary warehouse management system has a simple design and the equipment needed for handling materials and operating the system is less expensive than that required for conventional warehouse management systems that employ RFID.

Apparel products come in a high mix of low-volume items that complicates inventory control, and the use of RFID can make stocktaking more efficient. The introduction of smartphone terminals can improve work visibility and give exclusive-use applications greater flexibility, making it possible to speed up warehouse shipping operations and to respond to the unique business needs of customers in this industry.