Application status and development prospect of the

  • Detail

The application status and development prospects of RFID in supermarkets

Wal Mart's RFID action continues

when Wal Mart announced that it would require its top 100 suppliers to use RFID tags on containers and pallets before January 2005, the world of RFID has changed dramatically. At that time, RFID was still a relatively untested technology. The industry was in its infancy and the implementation cost was quite high

however, some people believe that this is the driving force required by the RFID industry. Mike cove, senior sales manager of Appleton's thermal energy and advanced technology products department, said, "although Wal Mart's requirements have brought great pressure to the RFID industry, I think the time is right. Before the introduction of Wal Mart's regulations, the RFID industry was basically an excellent technical concept hanging in the air, and there is no way forward except for some limited applications."

Wal Mart said that their requirements have been carried out as planned so far. The RFID initiative includes 100 suppliers and more than 30 volunteer enterprises. By January 14, Wal Mart had received goods with RFID tags from 57 suppliers. The first full implementation of RFID will continue until 2006. At present, suppliers are only required to label a few SKUs

Christi Gallagher, a spokesman for Wal Mart, said: "We plan to expand the scope of implementation geographically to 600 stores and 12 logistics centers by October 2005. With the progress of our work this year, some suppliers will be able to label items outside the regulations. By the end of the year, we need our next 200 suppliers to label containers and pallets destined for the logistics center. The deadline is January 2006. By the end of 2006, we will include all domestic suppliers in this project In motion. "

P & G tells you the real value of RFID

time and cargo handling will be reduced, so that more time can be freed up for customer service and restocking. "Looking ahead, we can get a lot of benefits in terms of profits, product recalls, insurance policies, product anti-counterfeiting and so on, including pharmaceutical products." Gallagher added

but for Wal Mart suppliers, the benefits of RFID are not so clear. Companies that participate in Wal Mart's RFID program, even at the lowest level, have huge investments. According to Kara Romanow, head of research at AMR research in Boston, Wal Mart's suppliers invested an average of $1million to $3million in implementing RFID regulations

romanow said: "this $1million to $3million is the necessary cost for them to implement the plan, but this is only the minimum investment. This includes the input of hardware, software, labels and readers, but in most cases it is only used for a few products and limited regions." She added, "most suppliers have not integrated the whole supply chain or established a set of methods for the capture and analysis of massive data of RFID tags."

romanow pointed out in the report entitled "attention to RFID followers: a total investment of 250million by suppliers in the first round": "why don't suppliers embrace this technology wholeheartedly and invest more money? Because in most cases, there are too many difficulties to overcome in the short term, and it is impossible to consider applying technology and data in a revolutionary way."

what industry experts usually call "shoot and send" (that is, hire someone to shoot the RFID chip with written content on the packaging box or tray, and then send it directly to Wal Mart, with little or no integration with their own it system). For suppliers, it is the simplest way to comply with the rules, which only requires manual labeling and the most basic equipment. Some people say that the lack of accessories makes RFID labeling an additional cost, rather than a valuable tool

Dan Williams, sales manager of Avery Dennison printer systems USA, said: "'shoot and send 'basically means' I print the label with an RFID activated printer, and then shoot the label on the packing box or tray'. It is difficult to say what use it is except to spend another share of money, because this method has no function of feedback to the system, and it is impossible to tell you which batch of goods were sent out and how many goods were transported to how many places. This is just equivalent to another label."

however, not all Wal Mart suppliers choose this path. P & G, one of Wal Mart's top 100 suppliers, has begun to put RFID tags on containers and pallets delivered to retailers. Jeannie tharrington, P & G's media PR, said, "we are not just 'shoot and send' in EPC (product electronic code RFID) We see great potential value in the system, so we test and evaluate how to create the best system, hoping to get the maximum benefit from the information collected by this system. At present, we are still in the testing and learning stage, that is to say, our attention is focused on small-scale commissioning with interested retail partners. "

like P & G, many suppliers have begun to implement RFID on a small scale. They realize that RFID has long-term benefits and needs further investment. R4 global solutions, a system integrator based in San Francisco, is currently cooperating with 15% of Wal Mart's top suppliers. Charles rice, the company's vice president of technology, said, "most of the suppliers we work with use manual labeling." Although this is the current reality, rice pointed out that these suppliers are also seriously considering integrating RFID into their operations. They invest in infrastructure, including labels, readers, intermediate equipment, integration with their ERP system, and spend more time studying how to make this process part of their standard operation. According to rice, the feedback from suppliers is good and bad, but there are many benefits for suppliers. He said, "for those expensive products, high profit products and products suffering from forgery, the benefits of RFID are obvious and immediate. As for other suppliers, being able to clearly grasp the inventory, supply chain and the movement of products in the supply chain (especially perishable products) will undoubtedly improve the final sales."

although there are problems in the application process, the development trend is good

at present, the RFID tags on Wal Mart packaging cases and pallets are different in size, usually 4 inches x2 inches ~ 4 inches X6 inches, most of which are passive heat transfer tags. Blank labels are usually provided by system integrators or label processors, and then end-user manufacturers use specially equipped RFID printers to print variable information such as destination and barcode on the labels. According to Williams, the new generation of RFID printers avoid damage by "crossing obstacles". "The printer prints the chip on the RFID tag, and the user only needs to warn the printer to pay attention to the chip position during the setting process. During the operation process, the print head feels and plans to improve the process level in the assembly of semi-finished products, feel the chip position and skip from above." He explained

Cove of Appleton said, "over time, more and more large supermarkets will adopt RFID technology. This technology is reasonable, but it is really difficult to implement incision and cutting after aging."

in the process of testing and initial implementation of this technology, Wal Mart suppliers encountered several problems, including the following obstacles:

1. Label positioning labels are placed in different positions on boxes or pallets, which has a great impact on the final effect. Cove said, "the antenna must be in a specific position relative to the scanner and must be away from certain substances, such as metals and liquids."

2. One size cannot fit all products. Gallagher explained, "one of the biggest findings of our suppliers is that a single type of label (antenna design) may not be suitable for all their products."

3. Data processing RFID system will produce an amazing amount of data. Romanow said, "I'm not sure whether the manufacturer knows how to deal with these data, how to face such data volume, and how to understand their significance."

at the same time, the cost of RFID technology is also a major challenge for many suppliers; Label production may be a problem that remains to be solved; In addition, when suppliers develop from manual labeling of a few single products to automation of the whole product series process, labeling will undoubtedly be a headache. However, despite so many obstacles, experts did not hesitate to say that RFID technology will never quit the stage

Steve Ludmerer, President of parelec, said, "RFID technology will definitely develop. It will coexist with bar codes and manually readable tags for a period of time, but its emergence is an unchangeable fact. Formulating the development strategy of RFID technology should be a key part of the future of enterprises."

other retailers are starting RFID action

rfid in the retail field will not start with Wal Mart, end with Wal Mart, and basically graphite will not end in logistics. In the technical bulletin 21 written by rice of R4 global solutions (published on December 28, 2005. Stress control rate range: 0.005% - 6% FS/S1), he wrote: "the 15 largest retailers in the United States, without exception, have begun to get involved in RFID technology in various ways." Several companies were also mentioned in this briefing. In terms of logistics, the briefing report: target's plan is in the pilot stage, which is implemented in ten stores in Texas, including 19 suppliers; Albertsons expects to realize the RFID plan of its top 100 suppliers in August 2005; An ongoing experiment includes seven top enterprises, including Gillette, P & G and Johnson

in addition, the RFID directive of best buy was issued on August 31st, 2004. The briefing said: "according to the plan, the RFID pilot application of pallets and containers will be carried out by August 2005, and it is expected to be extended to the application of a single product level after 2006."

in Europe, Metro Group is carrying out a pallet level RFID trial. Tesco announced a large-scale expansion of its "secure supply chain" RFID program, and announced that its single DVD product level test has been expanded from two UK companies to ten

the briefing also reported: "retailers will not follow Wal Mart's lead. Wal Mart focuses on the excellent performance of the supply chain, inventory visibility, reducing stock outs, etc. many other suppliers cannot compete with Wal Mart in price, so they have to compete with Wal Mart in other aspects, such as shopping experience, and RFID is the technology that can innovate in stores."

source: ruishang

Copyright © 2011 JIN SHI