Wal-Mart’s five-year-old mandate for all its suppliers to adopt RFID technology has not been an overwhelming success. Just a small percentage of the mega-retailer’s 60,000 suppliers are tagging their crates and pallets as requested; on the receiving end, just over a third of Wal-Mart’s approximately 3,600 stores have implemented the technology.
The plan’s failures can be blamed, at least partially, on Wal-Mart jumping the gun, analysts say. Five years ago, the RFID industry was not mature enough to handle the demands of such a large-scale operation. Prices were too high for many of the smaller suppliers, and a lack of industry standards and experience among RFID vendors led to many problems.
But for some larger suppliers, like dairy producer Daisy Brands and Texas Instruments, Wal-Mart’s mandate provided the impetus needed to jump into RFID in a big way, and the transformation has provided benefits throughout their supply chains.
ComputerWorld offers an in-depth look at the plan’s pluses and minuses here.