Tesco moves RFID into the warehouse

Tesco has extended its trial of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, implementing the electronic tracking technology in...

Tesco has extended its trial of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, implementing the electronic tracking technology in its non-food distribution centre in Milton Keynes.

The supermarket chain, which this week announced a 17% rise in group sales for the 24 weeks to 9 August, is one of the major supporters of RFID in the UK.

The latest rollout follows earlier item-level trials on razor blades and DVDs in stores in Cambridge, Sandhurst and Leicester.

The RFID tags, supplied by Alien Technology, will be attached on transportation cases to improve tracking between the Milton Keynes warehouse and stores at Peterborough and St Neots, Tesco said.

Colin Cobain, IT director at Tesco, said trial will give store managers a better idea of where products are, from when they leave the warehouse until they arrive at the store. “It will also help us improve product availability for customers and make life easier for our staff,” he added.

RFID is becoming increasingly popular among UK retailers, with high-profile trials at companies such as Woolworths, Marks & Spencer and Asda.

While the technology promises to cut inventory costs, boost efficiency and reduce theft, it has raised controversy in recent weeks with consumer groups, such as Liberty, which have claimed it could infringe customers’ privacy by tracking their every move.

Analysts recently urged UK retailers to act over these privacy concerns or risk consumer opposition stifling RFID’s growth.

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