Supplier's plea for retailers to unscramble the data from RFID

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Rfid

Supplier's plea for retailers to unscramble the data from RFID
Standardisation is essential for radio tagging, says manufacturer By Elaine Watson

Radio frequency identification (RFID) will not deliver its promised returns unless retailers agree a universal format for relaying data to their suppliers, a leading manufacturer has warned.

Speaking at last month's GS1 UK conference in London, Kraft Foods' director of international b2b strategies, Peter Jordan, said: "We've waited 20 years to get electronic point of sale (EPOS) data from retailers in a half-decent format and we still have to access it through all kinds of different portals where the data is presented in different ways. This cannot be allowed to happen with RFID. Information flow must be open, free and standards-based."

The technology presented a key opportunity for manufacturers in real-time event reporting, particularly during promotions, he said.

"Imagine a product launch where you can see exactly what's in the retailer's depot with two weeks to go, what's happening in the backroom with four days to go and what's on shelf at launch.

"If RFID can give us data at each of these points, we can take action to ensure optimal availability, including altering production schedules if necessary."

Wal-Mart's RFID strategy manager Simon Langford said it could lead to changes to processes in stores: "It's only when you start scanning what's going on to the sales floor that you realise how many cases are unnecessarily wheeled out and then returned to the backroom again and lost."

Exception reporting was also used to help staff identify products on the pick list that did not make it to the sales floor, he said: "On a busy Saturday afternoon, only one in 12 out-of-stocks are replenished in a timely fashion. RFID is starting to have a big impact on that number."

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