Wal-Mart Plans to Add RFID to 500 More Stores

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2006-09-12 Print this article Print

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, says it will double the number of stores using RFID to more than 1,000 by January 2007.

Wal-Mart Stores on Tuesday said it plans to bring another 500 stores online with its radio-frequency identification (RFID) initiative by the end of January 2007.

That will bring the total number of its retail locations using RFID to more than 1,000, though that represents about one-fourth of Wal-Mart's more than 3,900 locations in the United States.

A recent internal analysis of Wal-Mart's RFID efforts "reinforces the value of this technology for Wal-Mart, our suppliers and ultimately our customers," said Rollin Ford, executive vice president and CIO, in a statement. "We're aggressively moving forward with the expansion of RFID-enabled facilities."

Wal-Mart has been aggressively pushing RFID technology, and requiring its suppliers to adopt it, even though some are doubtful about its promise in the near term. An AMR Research survey in July 2005 found that only 35% of companies with more than 5,000 employees thought the technology was mature enough to deliver returns.

Wal-Mart said that all future RFID installations would only read "Generation 2" RFID tags. The company plans to replace the remaining pallets and cases with "Generation 1" RFID tags as they make their way through the distribution network.

Wal-Mart also said that it's working with its next 300 largest suppliers, in addition to 300 it says are already using RFID. The additional suppliers are expected to begin shipping test cases in October. These suppliers are expected to go live with their shipments in January 2007, bringing to more than 600 the number of supplier companies using RFID technology in concert with Wal-Mart.


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