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A system for matching inventory to improve accuracy at a POS system

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129165D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Sep-29
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Sep-29
Document File: 1 page(s) / 27K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

In a retail environment, many physical products come in logical sets of 2 or more items which match to a single Universal Product Code (UPC) at the Point of Sale (POS) device. Below are 3 examples: 1. A pair of shoes. You will have a left and right shoe of the same size in ONE box. 2. A dozen eggs. You will have 12 eggs in ONE carton. 3. A pair of children's mittens. You will have a right and left mitten of the same size attached to ONE UPC sticker. Note that the key thing is that you have multiple items linked logically to one identifier to the backend systems (generally via a UPC code on the container) The POS system will scan this and look up a price. The problem is that there is a lot of room for inventory error which translates into a huge cost for retailers. The cost will come in the form of bad customer satisfaction when a customer returns home and sees they have a size 10 shoe and a size 9 shoe or customer service time when a customer returns mismatched mittens and the matching pair can not be found, etc.

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A system for matching inventory to improve accuracy at a POS system

Disclosed is a process where each individual item within a logical group is tagged with an radio frequency identification (RFID) tag. At the time of checkout at the POS system, the system reads all the RFID tags, verifies that they are a valid group and informs the cashier if it is invalid.

For example, a customer will buy a pair of shoes. The RFID reader detects 2 tags-- one for the left shoe and one for the right shoe. These are identified and matched automatically to verify the same size and a right/left shoe.

A Database which is accessible via the Point of Sale Terminal contains the information that represents the single UPC code, the individual RFID tag identifiers (if applicable) and any rules required.

The single UPC code is the traditional identifier. The individual RFID tag can be a hardcoded value that is required and the quantity. This would be sufficient for the case of a dozen eggs-- each egg would be tagged with the same tag id and the quantity would be 12. The rules would cover the case where you have matching pairs of something like shoes or mittens. It would tell the system to look for size and left/right indicators. These could be stored in the tag or in the database.

The steps are:

1. The item is brought to the cashier
2. The parent item is scanned by the POS system (could be RFID or standard barcode)
3. The individual items are scanned by the RFID matching system
4. The data fro...