The purpose of this paper is to explore the potentials of implementing UHF Class 1 Gen 2 RFID technology to support Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) applications in the apparel supply chain. The study consists of two parts. The first one aims at quantitatively assessing the technical performance achievable by means of RFID technology, and is carried out through an extensive experimental campaign, considering 14 different common stealing patterns, derived both from the literature and from the suggestions received from a panel of experts belonging to 6 major Italian fashion companies. The same tests were performed exploiting two common EAS technologies, such as acousto-magnetic (AM) and radio frequency (RF), so as to provide a quantitative comparison of outcomes for each theft scenario. The second part of the study examines the economic feasibility of replacing traditional AM or RF technologies by RFID technology for antitheft purpose. The assessment is grounded on a real case example, derived from the analysis of three fashion retail stores. Results of the tests show that RFID and AM perform better than RF in most of the scenarios examined, and that both RFID and AM technologies have some strengths and weaknesses. As regards the economic analysis, the business case shows that the investment required for implementing RFID technology for antitheft purpose in a typical fashion retail store is limited, and can be quickly paid back, thus providing an economic justification to this technology. This study represents a good starting point for the apparel industry to look at RFID as a promising technology for EAS applications.
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