From Basic Bar Code Replacement to New to World Processes
Now some 17 years after the infamous Walmart RFID mandate was announced in 2003, and more than a decade since the program completely collapsed in 2008, sending RFID in the consumer goods to retail sector back by many years, there does seem to be a bit of momentum
Macy’s and Target stores have been rolling out RFID, largely to support ecommerce fulfillment, and a few weeks ago, stock market analyst Charles Anderson of financial firm Dougherty & Company issued a buy rating on leading RFID tag and reader maker Impinj, citing its own research that Walmart itself was going to jump back in and launch an item-level tagging program for apparel goods later in 2020.
The driver for Walmart as well was said to be ecommerce, with item-level RFID needed to ensure high levels of inventory accuracy, so that retailers can promise on-line that an item is in stock with confidence.
How that RFID market momementum will fare in the face of the coronavirus crisis and almost certain economic turmoil remains to be seen.
But if the momentum does continue, consumer goods companies will likely find they are tagging items and perhaps cases and pallets – perhaps for their own use as well as for their retail customers.
To help companies think about potential RFID opportunities, a number of years ago SCDigest noted that it may be helpful to think of the potential use of RFID in the context of the predominant supply chain auto ID technology, bar codes.
From that perspective, any potential use of RFID may be thought of as occupying one of three categories relative to the current or alternative selection of bar coding for the process/application.