Wal-Mart bullish on EPCs

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — After 18 days, Wal-Mart is claiming success in its initial rollout of electronic product codes (EPCs).

"To date, no glitches — only positive glimpses of what's to come," said Linda Dillman, executive vice president and chief information officer for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. "During this test phase, we're experimenting with various tag types and tag placements to see how they impact readability on various products in a non- laboratory environment.

"We want to make this information available to our suppliers early on, so that they can incorporate it into their efforts to meet the readability goals we've established," she continued. "From the start, we will be targeting 100 percent readability of pallets at dock doors and 100 percent readability of cases on our distribution-center conveyor systems."

Wal-Mart launched its initial implementation on April 30 in the North Texas area. Cases and pallets of 21 products from eight suppliers are being shipped to Wal-Mart's Sanger, Texas, distribution center and then to seven local supercenters with radio-frequency identification, or RFID, tags attached. This technology allows retailers greater visibility in monitoring product inventory from supplier to distribution center.

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