Marks and Spencer, which is also commonly known as “Marks and Sparks” or “M & S” first came into the limelight in the 20th century and had a policy of selling only British-made products. It made real in-roads by getting into a fruitful and long relationship with British manufacturers and selling food and clothes under the brand name of “St Michael”. It has more than 895 stores which cover more than 40 territories around the world. 600 of these stores are domestic while 285 are international ones.
Marks & Spencer also happens to be the largest clothing retailer in the UK. It is the 43rd largest retailer in the world. Most of its stores sell both food and clothing items. It has also started to expand into other products like homewares and furniture. What is RFID? Radio Frequency (RFID) technology isn’t exactly a new technology and has been around (in use) since the 1940’s. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology has been in use since the 1940’s by the US military to distinguish friendly aircraft from enemy aircrafts (Mayfield 2002).
It has been in commercial use since the early 1980’s (Jones et al 2004) Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is the generic name to technologies that uses radio waves to identify items ( Jones et al 2004) It is a small tag containing integrated circuit chip and an antenna and has the ability to respond to radio waves transmitted from the radio in order to send, process and store information (wu et al 2005)
The RDID technology mainly consists of three basic components a tag a reader and a computer (wu et al 2005) The tag contains a unique identification of the product to which it is attached to, the reader emits and receives radio waves to read the information that is stored in the tag and the computer processes all the data that is collected (Attaran 2007, Wu et al 2005). We know that environment has a wide range of effects over any organisation’s performance.
Factors such as, competition, global economy, social changes and changes in technology impact the performance of any organisation and makes the overall environment more complex and uncertain. Before discussing the technology in use, the PEST analysis of Marks ; Spencer would be very important. PEST Analysis By doing the Pest analysis, we can explore the external macro environment that effects an organisation. These factors are categorized as political, economical socio-cultural and technological (See Appendix. 1). Technological
Today’s word is indeed a world of technological change. Almost all the large players in UK’s retail industry are aware of its importance. Marks ; Spencer has specifically invested a lot in MIS to improve its supply-chain and operations. The technology I have chosen to write about has the potential to change our ways of life, entirely. It has a very wide range of implications and could revolutionize a number of fields, including access management, human identification, toll collection and logistics. The technology is called RFID (Radio Frequency Identification).
The RFID technology has been around for quite a while however lately it is been inducted in a wide range of activities. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology has been in use since the 1940’s by the US military to distinguish friendly aircraft from enemy aircrafts (Mayfield 2002) It has been in commercial use since the early 1980’s (Jones et al 2004). My focus shall remain on the implication of RFID technology in the retail industry and the organisation I have chosen to write about is “Marks & Spencer’.
Marks & Spencer had a technical trial of RFID technology in the advent of 2003 and later they started over a pilot site in 2004. The initial results were indeed successful according to James Stafford, technical executive of the Marks & Spencer, intellectual property. In February, 2004 he said: “We are very pleased with the results of the trial. It has proved that the technology works and that it has a contribution to make, but we still have work to do on the business case and the implementation costs,” says James Stafford, technical executive of the Marks & Spencer’s intellectual property.
” (BBC. com) Later, they expanded their onsite testing of the RFID technology to 42 of its stores, which covered around 6 of its product areas. The RFID tags are supplied to Marks ; Spencer by Paxar Corporation. The chips used in these tags are made by Swatch subsidiary EM Microelectronics, which is based in Switzerland. These tags are UHF, 64-bit, 868 MHZ and are encoded with an identifier which is linked with a unique catalog number. These RFID tags are used to track menswear by using RFID readers which store information into the inventory.
The RFID technology can read a whole cage or trolley of products at the same time (Mayfield 2002) Hence the RFID technology would enable remote accessing and edition of information over the items without consultation into a central database or replacement of labels providing in-depth information on stock and enabling the pertinent people (supplier or employees in store) to read and dispatch information, six or seven times faster than before.
As the matter of fact, it involves very little human involvement and offers many advantages. The ability to track inventory inside and outside of the store is also an advantage as it reduces staff theft and shop lifting (Hingley 2007) This efficient technology optimizes inventory management; improved order forecasts and eases distribution for a massive 350 million garments, which are moved into the Mark ; Spencer stores, each year.