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Kimberly-Clark Ramps Up RFID Initiative

Kimberly-Clark will continue its aggressive RFID initiatives with RFID-tagged shipments in Europe, the use of GEN 2 compliant products, and an expanded and renovated RFID research lab.
Tags: Retail
Mar 02, 2005This article was originally published by RFID Update.

March 2, 2005—Kimberly-Clark, manufacturer of such health and hygiene products as Kleenex, Huggies, and Depends, has established itself as an aggressive and respected adopter of RFID. The company's resident RFID director, Michael O'Shea, delivered a celebrated speech at last week's RFID World and serves as co-chair of EPCglobal's consumer packaged goods action group. K-C started shipping RFID-tagged goods to Wal-Mart in April 2004, veritable light years ahead of the (in)famous January 2005 deadline, and it has since added Target and Alberton's to its list of RFID recipients. Now the company will expand its initiative further, with plans to begin RFID-equipped shipments to two European retailers: Tesco of the U.K. and Germany's METRO, themselves leaders in RFID adoption. O'Shea expects to have used 1 million RFID tags by year-end, a significant ramping-up from the current level that has so far seen 100,000 goods tagged. K-C plans to employ GEN 2 compliant products when they become available later this year, and it will renovate and expand its already impressive 5,000-square foot RFID research lab to 10,000 square feet by next year.

One hurdle O'Shea sees is the dearth of RFID talent. A widely held complaint by those on the front lines of RFID deployment, the increasingly acute shortage of qualified labor was reinforced by a recent CompTIA survey (see story above). With respect to RFID skills, O'Shea echoed a theme noted last week in Lou Sirico's Lou's News and Views column: drawn by the hot demand, unqualified RFID "experts" are coming out of the woodwork with exaggerated claims of experience and knowledge. As quoted in Industry Week, O'Shea says, "It's amazing how someone walks by an RFID reader and that gives them the necessary experience."

InformationWeek has more on K-C
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