RFID Tags Within the Uniform Industry
adio Frequency Identification tags use ‘smart’ barcodes to track items. Different to standard printed barcodes which can only be scanned one at a time, the RFID tags can be scanned using a reader or airport style scanner in multiples, and can also hold a huge amount more data than a traditional barcode.
The tags can essentially be added to anything, even vehicles and pets, but are being used increasingly in the luxury uniform industry for employee uniforms as an asset tracking system.
They utilise radio frequency technology to store and transmit individual data about the item, this can include anything, for example who the uniform has been allocated to and when, to check on ‘wear and tear’ and also minimise potential loss for often very expensive bespoke uniform garments.
Studio 104’s first live introduction to this type of technology came when working on Hyatt’s first UK Unbound Collection property Great Scotland Yard. But this has become a more frequent request from clients when rolling out their luxury uniform, with the latest implementation being for NoMad London, opening later this year.
As mentioned above, the advantages to using RFID tags within the hospitality industry are vast. For example, an inventory of stock can be gathered quickly and efficiently, identifying higher than normal consumption, areas for investment, and being able to track the location of often high value garments. This data can also be used when determining requirements for additional stock, highlighting specific size demands which will then lead on to an overall better utilisation of stock.
Another point to consider is that the RFID tags themselves when no longer required must be disposed of correctly, as they are considered as electronic waste. Unlike the fashion industry, where the risk is that the consumer may dispose of the tag incorrectly after sale, luxury uniforms by their design and implementation have a longer lifespan, with the client managing the garments and re-use or recycling of its components correctly.
The future of this type of technology is very exciting. The tags and scanners are currently relatively expensive so we can assume that this will become more accessible over time. The tags themselves can also sometimes be a little bulky in thinner garments so it is safe to expect that this will also improve.
Synergy between how modern technology and fashion work together is ever evolving, and RFID tags are going to be a key factor.
Written by Sarah @ Studio 104