Taking a Gamble on RFID
Approximately 3,300 attendees from around the world walked the exhibit hall during RFID Journal LIVE! 2008, held April 16-18 at the Venetian in Las Vegas, where more than 170 vendors showcased real-world applications for leveraging the benefits of radio frequency identification. One exhibitor was Tipp City, Ohio-based Repacorp, whose RFID solutions include both paper and synthetic labels and tags. Rochelle Heinl, manager, RFID business development, graciously found time between speaking with distributors and end-users crowding the booth to provide Print Professional with a status report.
“There’s been a tremendous amount of interest; most people are seriously shopping for solutions and plan to move forward with RFID implementation within the next year,” she observed. “The announcement of the Sam’s Club mandate has been quite the buzz—lots of people here are end-users looking to be supplied with [RFID technology necessary] to comply.”
On Jan. 31, Sam’s Club—owned and operated by Wal-Mart—began requiring all of its suppliers to apply EPC (Electronic Product Code) Gen 2 RFID tags to every full, single-item pallet of goods destined for its distribution center in DeSoto, Texas, or directly to one of its stores served by that distribution center. Any supplier failing to comply was charged a service fee of $2.00 per untagged pallet starting on Feb. 1, and the fee will gradually increase until it caps out at $3.00 per pallet on Jan. 1, 2009. The fee covers Sam’s Club’s costs in having to tag the pallets itself.
By Jan. 30, 2009, Sam’s Club intends to have suppliers tag full, single-item pallets destined for all 22 of its distribution centers. The suppliers must also tag at the item level all shipments to any of the 22 distribution centers by Oct. 31, 2010. As a warehouse retailer, Sam’s Club’s items are typically bulk goods packaged in large units. The company predicted tagging will lead to increased sales resulting from fewer out-of-stock items, better product placement, fewer out-of-date products, faster checkout and better-quality products, such as fresher produce.
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