Nike is implementing RFID tracking in "nearly all" of its non-licensed apparel and footwear to enhance supply chain efficiency according to Supply Chain Dive.
Nike has implemented RFID tracking for "hundreds of millions of items" according to CEO Mark Parker and is also using QR codes to track some inventory.
"RFID gives us the most complete view of our inventory that we have ever had. It's quickly becoming the most precise tool in our arsenal to meet an individual consumer specific need at the exact right moment," said Parker on the company's Thursday earnings call.
Nike Direct stores will begin taking advantage of the visibility the technology can provide in the coming quarter and the initiative will spread through the rest of Nike's network, including partner retailers, in the subsequent quarters, he said.
Nike's embrace of RFID is part of its journey to create a faster, more agile and responsive supply chain, according to Supply Chain Dive. The company is working on drastically cutting lead times — by half in some cases. And visibility, said executives, is a key part of speed.
Better inventory visibility enables the kind of quick decision making that begets faster production. Parker said the brand's Middle East and North Africa inventory comes through the "Express Lane" (Nike's speediest manufacturing lane) to the tune of 20% — " driving higher full price sell-through and better gross margins."
This equation of inventory visibility plus production speed will roll out to Nike's stores in the near-term and through Nike's customer base over time.