Wal-Mart begins RFID trial in Texas
The testing includes participation from eight manufacturers
IDG News Service - Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. began testing the use of radio frequency identification tagging at seven stores and a regional distribution center in Texas today in anticipation of a wider rollout of the technology that the company hopes will eventually replace bar codes.
Eight manufacturers are participating in the trial. They have agreed to implement case- and pallet-level tagging on a total of 21 products delivered to Wal-Mart's Sanger,Texas, regional distribution center.
The much-anticipated test comes after Wal-Mart threw down the gauntlet to its top 100 suppliers last year, setting a January 2005 deadline for them to place RFID tags on all cases and pallets destined for its Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area.
The trial is intended to kick off the RFID tag migration in anticipation of that deadline, said Simon Langford, manager of RFID strategy at Wal-Mart. According to Langford, all of its top 100 suppliers except two are on track to meet the deadline, with many planning to join the trial earlier.
Wal-Mart has been on the front lines of a move by retailers to adopt Electronic Product Code technology in an effort to increase efficiency within the supply chain process. The new tags work by using passive RFID chips with small antennas that emit a unique product identifier code when passed near an RFID reader. That information is then transmitted to an inventory control system.
In the trial, tagged cases and pallets will be read by RFID readers installed on the distribution center's dock doors. Readings taken there will be sent to the store's operations and merchandising teams, as well as the suppliers, to tell them that the products have arrived. The process will be replicated at the seven trial stores, where readers at dock doors will confirm shipment of the goods, Wal-Mart said.
While Langford said many of its suppliers had questions at first about the functionality and cost of implementing the new technology, they now believe it will result in greater cost savings in the long run by improving the efficiency of the supply chain.
What's more, volume purchasing of RFID technology will drive down the costs even further, he said. "Just in the last year, we have seen the price of tags and readers drop by 50% on average," Langford said.
While Wal-Mart and other RFID advocates say the technology will aid consumers by helping ensure that the products they are looking for are in stock, concerns have been raised that the tags could encroach on shoppers' privacy. RFID tags left activated on merchandise could possibly
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- 5 Reasons To Migrate From Cisco (ACE) to Riverbed Stingray ADC As you consider refreshing your legacy Cisco ACE application delivery infrastructure, consider migrating to the Riverbed® Stingray™ family of products and learn the...
- Modernize Your Business with Oracle ERP Cloud This eBook explores the core components of a cloud-based ERP solution that delivers enterprise-class software without sacrificing functionality or changes to business processes...
- Empowering Modern Finance This report explores how modern CFOs and finance executives are adopting emerging technologies within their finance functions to enable the development of new...
- ERP in the Cloud and the Modern Business View IDC's White Paper, to review IDC CloudTrack Survey findings, gain expert insight into the challenges and opportunities the cloud presents, and determine...
- Live Webcast Best Practices for the Hyperconverged Enterprise Network To the Age of Constant Connectivity and Information overload
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Endpoint Backup & Restore: Protect Everyone, Everywhere Arek Sokol from the bleeding-edge IT team at Genentech/Roche explains how he leverages cross-platform enterprise endpoint backup in the public cloud as part...
- Four Myths of High-Productivity App Dev Debunked Debunk the main myths surrounding high-productivity application development and how both platforms have overcome them.
On-Demand Webcast: 7 Reasons to Choose VoIP
Thinking about a new phone system for your business?
Be sure to watch this informative webcast. Steve Strauss, small business columnist for USA...