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Walmart Rfid Technology Uses

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ns. Other retailers are also supporting the use of RFID. It is critical to work with the retailers and organizations such as the DoD rather than opt out of the process. Begin an approach that allows you to stay aware of policy updates and become compliant (see Chapter 5, "Framework for Deployment," for details on how to determine rationale for RFID deployment and effectively deploy it in an enterprise).

Implement a compliance program after careful study and planning. Although compliance is inevitable, planning is essential. As RFID technology continues to mature, seek vendors who provide flexible and proven solutions that can be upgraded (for example, readers that can be upgraded (preferably via firmware) from detecting Class 0 or Class 1 tags to Generation 2 tags, systems that are robust enough to increase tag detection capacity of the reader to accommodate item-level tagging). A phased approach to compliance makes the most sense. For that reason, a pilot is recommended, with the lessons learned during that pilot then applied. For Wal-Mart suppliers, use the lessons from their pilot program for full-scale compliance for all the SKUs under consideration. For DoD suppliers, it is critical to take special steps if you supply an item that requires a UID.

Take a holistic approach to solving this problem. Merely "slapping" tags on the cases that go to Wal-Mart or the DoD (a method known as slap & ship) may introduce pitfalls, increase your costs, and minimize potential benefits. Instead, take a look at your business processes to see how the added information and tracking provided by EPC tags can be used to make better decisions about streamlining your own operations, understand and respond to customers, and improve your own supply chain. In some cases, you may not have a choice but to implement slap & ship in the short term to address an impending mandate. Even in those cases, it is important to plan how your operations need to be modified to accommodate the addition of tags. It may not be sufficient to simply put tags on the cases. Tags need to be tested by using readers in various plants and warehouses. Workers, from the shop floor mechanic to the IT systems administrator, will need training on the handling of this technology. Focus on your unique business case and establish priorities for the pilot program. Watch out for obvious tracking limitations of the UHF tags when applied to metal or liquid. If your product falls in this category, talk to Wal-Mart, the DoD, or other appropriate retailers for exceptions. (Wal-Mart has accepted this current limitation for UHF-based tags and reset its expectations.) They may even share their knowledge on this topic, derived from others in your situation.

Select vendors carefully. Select consultants or system integrators that have experience in your industry, so that they can design an RFID solution that is right for your own needs. The vendor



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