Wal-Mart Continues RFID Technology Expansion

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. said yesterday it is expanding its RFID capability to additional facilities, which should make an additional 400 Wal-Mart stores RFID-able by the end of this fiscal year.

The announcement came from Wal-Mart e.v.p. and c.i.o. Rollin Ford, who gave a keynote speech at the RFID Journal Live conference in Orlando, Fla. He also discussed the technology's current and future benefits to both business and consumers.

"Through RFID technology, Wal-Mart is providing value to customers, working with our suppliers to deliver collaborative benefits that allow people to save money and lead better lives," Ford said. "We have only gotten started, and we are continuing to roll out to more stores at the same rate as the last two years."

Ford said current benefits of using RFID technology include a 30 percent reduction of out-of-stocks, reduction of excess inventory in the supply chain, and sustainability impacts. He also outlined advancements including pallet locators now being used at Sam's Club locations -- increasing inventory accuracy and reduced member waiting time -- as well as future benefits in pharmacy accuracy, grocery freshness, software, CD and DVD authentication, and 30-second store checkouts.

Ford also described future innovations that could be made possible with RFID.

"In the near future, customers may be able to enjoy advantages such as automatic warranty activation on electronics, freshness assurance on foods thanks to cold chain monitoring, and enhanced product safety as a result of faster, more accurate recalls and better freshness monitoring," he said.
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