Retailer Wal-Mart is testing a system to integrate data taken from radio frequency identification tags with automated electronic data interchange information.
Wal-Mart is already a retail leader in the implementation of RFID technology. In 2004 it mandated its leading suppliers to put RFID tags on products shipped to three specified distribution centres and 150 stores.
This was expanded to cover three additional distribution centres, with 800 stores receiving products from suppliers with RFID tags by October 2005.
Wal-Mart's latest RFID effort consists of a trial it is conducting with a small group of its suppliers and RFID standards body EPCglobal.
Wal-Mart is planning for RFID tags to eventually trigger advanced ship notices throughout the EPC Information Service network.
In the meantime, suppliers can access the RFID information now by logging on to Retail Link, Wal-Mart's web-based database that tracks inventory.
RFID information from shifted or sold products is added to the inventory database every 30 minutes, so suppliers can plan for further deliveries.