Trading is currently one of the most lucrative businesses. For example, the well-known brand Wal-Mart has an annual turnover of approximately $ 400 billion per year. Small wholesale shops appear more and more often. The most famous brands are Metro SS, Wal-Mart, O'Key, X5 Retail group, MAGNIT. One of the main components of a trading business is the organization of a settlement system and determining the availability of goods. Most of the currently operating and commissioned stores operate with a product valuation system based on product identification by barcode. The codes contain all the necessary information: country, manufacturer and internal company number of the item. Since the barcode directly contains information, it can only be changed by pasting a new label with a new barcode. For example, if the container in the warehouse is reusable, then when filling the box with newly received fruits, it will be necessary to re-glue the barcode. Moreover, if the barcode directly contains information, moreover, written according to certain rules (... the first 2 digits are the name, the second 6 are the date, month, year ...), then new details can be added to this information only by changing all barcode system.
Barcodes can only store links to a database in a computer, but this does not eliminate all the disadvantages of barcoding. Thus, the time spent on calculating the cost of purchased goods in a typical store is quite large - each item must be scanned separately, and reading the barcode from crumpled labels is very difficult. In addition, the product must be in the line of sight of the scanning system when being read. In addition, if the product information itself is in a database on a computer, you must have a connection with that computer to get it. It is sometimes very expensive to maintain such a connection - especially if there are several commercial warehouses and they are far from each other.
Radio frequency identification (RFID) systems are now being introduced to replace traditional barcode-based systems. The RFID system consists of tags, readers, and a computer system. Tags consist of a microchip and an antenna and can be active (containing a power source and inside) and passive (powered by radio waves from the reader). RFID standards have now been introduced and an Electronic Product Code (EPC), a combination of numbers that uniquely identifies tags, has been developed. Similar to a barcode, an electronic code is a series of numbers, but its capabilities are much broader. An electronic code can be associated with specific product information such as date of manufacture, origin, destination, or shipment information. Since the EPC code identifies individual items, information about them can be quickly and safely distributed through existing company networks. The organization of a quick exchange of information both within one trade enterprise and a whole network of similar enterprises will reduce the number of cases of lack of goods in the warehouse, increase the efficiency of product identification and prevent counterfeiting and theft of goods from the trading floor. In addition, in the event of a need to recall goods, this process will take significantly less time compared to traditional accounting systems.
The problem or task
The developed RFID system will be introduced in trade. Further work will focus on the establishment and improvement of application software for the organization of a fully automated operation outlets.
Given the review of analytical groups, considering the Russian and foreign markets of RFID-systems, taking into account the experience of companies engaged in the manufacture of such devices, the following scenario is assumed life cycle of RFID systems:
- market research of market needs;
- generation of ideas and their filtration;
- technical and economic assessment of the project;
- research work on the subject of the article;
- development work;
- test marketing;
- preparation of production of the product for serial production;
- production of commercial variants of the distributed identification system and implementation to the consumer;
- maintenance, improvement and maintenance of the systems;
- disposing of these products.
Stages 4 - 7 - pre-production, and they can be considered as a complex of scientific and technical preparation of production. At the same time, there will be close cooperation with consumers in order to identify possible shortcomings and take into account the customer's wishes. The peculiarity of this project, as innovative, is that the research and development process will require significant investments and will be very long, which makes it an area of high risk for investors. It is clear that preconceived and implemented actions to protect inventions and know-how can become a good guarantee that the losses in the implementation of technical solutions conceived by the team will be reduced to zero.
Our idea is to build a wireless information system for product accounting at retail and small-scale wholesalers with the technology of streaming determination of the characteristics of a large group of goods. The created system will consist of hardware and software. The hardware part will include RFID readers with a wireless interface, antennas for readers, a volumetric RFID reader located at the checkout and information points, which are devices connected to the local network of a retail enterprise and equipped with a touch screen for organizing user requests about the location of the goods in the trading floor. The software part will include system software for communicating with readers, drivers for readers, an application for communicating with a trade enterprise database, and custom applications for information points. During the operation of the system, the registration of an object is carried out by RFID readers, integrated into a local wireless network. The system under development will be built on National Instruments equipment, and the application software will be developed in the LabVIEW programming environment. Compared to the traditional barcode-based system and existing RFID systems, the system we offer has a number of advantages. The technical benefits include:
- Possibility of simultaneous reading of a large number of RFID tags at the same time, which reduces the time for determining the value of goods at the checkout to a minimum. For example, you come to the checkout, which has a large queue. In the case of using a barcode reading system, it will take about 2-3 seconds to determine the cost of each product (taking into account the time required to get it out of the basket). For example, purchasing goods in the amount of 20 items, you spend at least a minute at the checkout, which leads to long queues, especially on holidays. In case of using RFID reading system, the cost estimate will take 2-3 seconds for all products.
- The possibility of organizing inquiries to inform the buyer about the location of the goods in the large sales area. Often, customers come to a store to buy a specific product. If the area of the trading floor is large, then finding the right thing is a rather difficult task. Inexpensive information points built using touch screens and having the ability to network data with a database of RFID tags make finding the right product simple and convenient. When you enter a name or type of product, the screen displays the name of the department, its location, an approximate path to it and the shelf number. In addition, it is possible to organize inquiries via the Internet, when a user selects a product on the store's website and receives a printout of its location in the trading floor. Moreover, even if a group of goods is moved at the time of the request, the system will track its new location and notify the user about it.
- Possibility of network exchange between readers. The organization of a network exchange between various readers will allow the system to obtain an overall picture of the location of units of goods in the trading floor, with tracking of their movements.
The above emphasizes the virtues of our system.
The economic benefits include:
- Improving the efficiency of trade enterprises by increasing the speed of cash services.
- Reducing the cost of the final equipment of a trade enterprise. Increasing the speed of cash transactions will eliminate the need to use a large number of expensive cash desks, in addition, staff are reduced, which leads to significant savings for the company.
- The possibility of organizing online marketing research.
The new system will provide the ability to quickly determine the most popular groups of products, brands goods. This information can be used in the subsequent order of a new product. The above mentioned features are responsible for improving the efficiency of trade enterprises at the expense of a significant reduction in service time, reducing the cost of the equipment of the enterprise by reducing the amount of settlement funds.
The disadvantages of the proposed system include the increased cost of RFID tags compared to the cost of applying a bar code.