Retail and consumer products companies must continue to drive implementation of RFID data standards, item registry, and data synchronisation if they are to take advantage of collaborative technologies such as EPC, according to an action plan commissioned by a collaboration of RFID industry players.
The action plan, entitled ‘Connect the Dots: Harnessing Collaborative Technologies to Deliver Better Value to Consumers’, was commissioned by Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA), the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), and the National Association of Chain Drug stores (NACDS), and developed by consulting firms A.T. Kearney and Kurt Salmon Associates (KSA). It is based on interviews with more than 100 executives from 80 retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies.
Recent analysis confirms that industry executives view global data synchronisation – in the form of common data standards, a single item registry (global registry) and party/item synchronisation – as the foundation for electronic collaboration. And, according to the plan, there is broad consensus that global data synchronisation is the first step toward maximising the efficiency, productivity, and cost benefits of EPC and RFID technology.
“While RFID and EPC can provide more detailed, accurate, and frequent data messages, these messages are not useful unless the data they transmit is correct,” explained Pamela Stegeman, vice president of supply chain and technology for GMA. “Without clean, synchronised data, RFID and EPC technology will just enable faster transactions of the wrong information.”
Broad trading partner implementation of data synchronisation is another critical factor in realising benefits, according to the new plan. Savings by any one company will depend on its ability to encourage its trading partners to be part of the collaborative solution. This underscores an urgent need for retail and CPG companies to become increasingly involved in the adoption of EPC and RFID technology and standards.
“With a few major retailers and CPG companies involved in the EPC and RFID standards debate, it’s tempting for smaller and mid-sized companies to sit back and wait for formal standards,” warned Patrick Walsh, director of industry relations for FMI. “Instead, companies should begin preparing now to adopt that technology. The benefits to the industry are contingent upon the participation of all in global data synchronisation, EPC and RFID. It is about building an integrated system.”
The action plan outlines a series of immediate actions companies should take to achieve the promise of electronic collaboration, including:
- Commit to the GDS vision and define a systems plan for implementation;
- Cleanse product data, and secure trading partner agreements;
- Adopt enhanced metrics for measuring global data synchronisation, and include these on the corporate scorecard;
- Form a cross-functional EPC/RFID team to assess the impact to all aspects of operations;
- Develop the EPC business case and pilot programmes
- Create an inventory of existing wireless systems and evaluate it for potential interference problems.
The full report has been made available for free download (as an Acrobat PDF document) from GMA’s web site (441Kb total download size).
For additional information:
- Visit GMA at http://www.gmabrands.com
- Visit FMI at http://www.fmi.org
- Visit NACDS at http://www.nacds.org
- Visit A.T. Kearney at http://www.atkearney.com
- Visit Kurt Salmon at http://www.kurtsalmon.com
Sources: GMA; FMI; NACDS; A.T. Kearney; Kurt Salmon Associates
Reprinted with permission from Using RFID (http://www.usingrfid.com/news)
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