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Five years ago, when Wal-Mart Stores issued a startling mandate that its suppliers must adopt radio frequency identification technology, Daisy Brand Inc. quickly volunteered to be first out of the gate.
Today, the family-owned dairy products supplier is fully compliant with those Wal-Mart requirements, tagging every pallet that leaves its warehouses. The effort has been a boon to Dallas-based Daisy Brand, cutting in half the time it takes to load its delivery trucks.
But Wal-Mart's mandate didn't work out so well--or even work out at all--for most of its other suppliers. The retail giant says that many of its 600 top suppliers, which account for three-fourths of the company's sales volume, use RFID technology today to "some degree." Most of the rest--some 60,000 strong--are not using it at all.
Once the implementation difficulties for its suppliers--and for Wal-Mart itself--became clear, the retailer backed away from the RFID mandate, which remains in limbo today.
For many of the small and mid-sized businesses that make a good chunk of revenue selling products to Wal-Mart stores around the country, the long-term benefits of RFID are still not top of mind, but the expense is.
Source: Computerworld, http://computerworld.com
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