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Staples Business Depot Sees Big Benefits From RFID Test
Wins include significant reductions in shipment-processing time and on-time receipt of almost all orders sent to its store test site.
Sep 27, 2006—The results of a three-month pilot program launched by Staples Business Depot are in. Several of the project's successes were revealed at the RFID Journal Industry Summits conference in Chicago this week. Among them: The 270-store Canadian unit of Staples Inc. reduced the amount of time required to process shipments received at both its RFID-enabled delivery center and a store in the Toronto area—and also recorded a near-100 percent on-time arrival of orders at the retail location—by using RFID to receive them rather than by scanning bar codes.
The goal of the pilot, which Staples Business Depot undertook with a few of its product vendors, was to evaluate the benefits of using RFID to track the shipment and receipt of goods (see Staples' Canadian Unit Plans RFID Trial). The program began in late May of this year and spanned 90 days, including set-up and calibration. Participating vendors included Acco and Unisource, each of which applied passive EPC Gen 2 UHF RFID tags to cases and pallets of their goods headed for Staples' RFID-enabled delivery center and store. UPS Supply Chain Solutions (UPS-SCS), which operates Staples' private-label warehouse, tagged pallets of private-label Staples goods, as well as products from a number of other vendors, that it ships for them to Staples stores. Fellowes, a manufacturer of records-storage systems, computer accessories and paper shredders, helped develop the project but did not participate due to timing conflicts with other large-scale projects.
All of the project participants are members of the Supply Chain Network Project a group led by PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada (PWC) that collaborates on projects aimed at bringing new technologies into the supply chain (see Group Studies Supply Chain Technology).
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