Tesco relaunches its RFID scheme

Tesco is to roll out radio frequency identification technology across its entire supply chain infrastructure, starting with its...

Tesco is to roll out radio frequency identification technology across its entire supply chain infrastructure, starting with its largest stores.

Unlike US retailer WalMart, Tesco said it would not be mandatory for its suppliers to adopt the technology, although it would encourage them to do so.

This month Tesco will begin rolling out RFID technology from OATSystems to 100 of its largest stores, with the aim of completing implementation by Christmas. A full roll-out across the rest of the group will be completed over the next three years, Tesco said.

Tesco cut short a series of RFID trials last year citing a lack of global standards for the technology and protests by civil rights groups.

It is now standardising on OAT Foundation Suite for its enterprise-wide RFID initiatives. The suite will power Tesco's RFID infrastructure across its network of more than 2,000 sites.

Tesco IT director Colin Cobain said, " By extending our use of radio barcodes in our Secure Supply Chain initiative, we will be able to improve on-shelf availability while reducing shrinkage. We will start with using radio barcodes on high-value goods and plan to expand our roll-out across the entire supply chain over the next few years."

Nigel Montgomery, research director at analyst group AMR, said, "Tesco has learned a lot from Wal-Mart and has adopted a better approach towards its suppliers. RFID is very hard for suppliers to adopt and it is very hard for them to absorb this."

Montgomery added that Wal-Mart's decision to make RFID mandatory for its suppliers had kick-started adoption of the technology.

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