just procrastinating

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

One of the work-related things that I have been working on recently is related to the new RFID initiatives that have started because of Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart recently decreed that their top 100 suppliers apply these RFID tags at the pallet level by Jan. 2005, and Target recently followed suit, albeit in a more pleasant and friendly manner. This helps Wal-Mart because they no longer need to scan each pallet's barcode by hand, since RFID tags can be read from about 30 feet away. So it saves labor and gives them a pretty good sense of where things are in the distribution facility, and ultimately on the store floor. Because the tags are only at the pallet level and not the item level, there really won't be any immediate savings from "shrinkage" (the employee theft kind of shrinkage), but at some point RFID will be cheap enough to do at the item level and you can expect significant savings across the supply chain.

Back when Wal-Mart announced this there was a big backlash of people worried that having an RFID tag in their shirt would mean that Wal-Mart would be tracking them, but the tags don't work like that. You have to be really close to the reader, and now companies are making tags that self-destruct once the sale is made so this is becoming a non-issue.

Anyway, I am trying to put together a supply chain process flow diagram that shows how RFID will affect the way goods flow from Manufacturer to Distributor to Retailer and tie this to our company's capabilities and show how there is a natural overlap between our capabilities and RFID. The only problem is that there really is no overlap and even if there was, I can't quite bring myself to care since I am looking for another job in another city in an another industry and its nice outside and my boss isn't here now and I think I'm gonna go home...

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