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Summary of Baird RFID Monthly for March

Baird has released its March report. The thirteen-page document is a worthwhile read for anyone requiring an overview of the industry's last 30 days. For those without time to do so, we have reprinted here the report's summary.
Mar 17, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

March 17, 2006—Wealth and asset management firm Robert W. Baird & Co., known to most simply as "Baird", has released its RFID Monthly for March. Baird has given RFID Update permission to reprint the Key Developments section (below), which offers the report highlights. For those wanting more detail, the complete thirteen-page document is available free here. A highly recommended read, front-to-back. The report includes its usual matrix of primary RFID providers on page 10, and following are the Key Developments:
  • Wal-Mart Building Generation 2 Infrastructure. Several contacts indicated that Wal-Mart is in the process of placing orders for as many as 20,000 Gen 2 readers to be installed in the next 3-6 months. These readers will be deployed in the five distribution centers and 500 stores currently accepting RFID, plus the 500 incremental stores expected to come on-line by the end of the year. The refreshed infrastructure will enable Wal-Mart to receive Gen 2 tagged product on a large scale. The early tests of Gen 2 suggest that this infrastructure will yield a significant improvement in read capability. We expect such capability will also lead to better data capture and sharing with vendors.
     
  • Mandate Momentum. We heard that Wal-Mart will become more forceful with vendors once this infrastructure is in place. The mechanism Wal-Mart intends to use is providing its consumer product buyers with data analytics that demonstrate that RFID is value-added and important. This process has already been underway; recall, Wal-Mart commissioned a study from the University of Arkansas that indicated RFID allowed Wal-Mart to reduce out-of-stocks by 16%, increase replenishment by 3x and reduce manual ordering by 10%. Wal-Mart and Target have mandated to both of their supplier bases conversion to Gen 2 by mid-year.
     
  • Silicon is Readily Available; Reader Supply Beginning to Improve. Converters and end users tell us tags are available in sufficient quantity and reader availability is not far away. Recall, Impinj has been in production with their Gen 2 silicon (Monza) since 4Q05, and we have heard that Philips is very close to production with its Gen 2 silicon. We understand that Texas Instruments expects to have its product in production by the April/May timeframe. We believe end users seek silicon solutions from multiple vendors to ensure continued price declines and alternative sources. Readers are becoming increasingly mature and available, and will likely see full availability by May. Several of the reader manufacturers are in the final stages of ramping production, while others are seeking to "stabilize" their reader firmware to ensure a smooth working product.
     
  • Congress Weighs In On Pharma Tracking. Congressmen Gill Gutknecht of Minnesota and Dan Burton of Indiana, along with seven other members of Congress have introduced a bill aimed at curbing counterfeiting of prescription drugs. The bill, known as H.R. 4829, would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to require that prescription drug packaging be tagged with "RFID or similar trace and track technologies that have an equivalent function." The bill also requires the packaging to have a "tamper indicating technology" and “blister security packaging when possible." We view the introduction of this bill as a catalyst in forcing the FDA to move faster with federal e-pedigree drug tracking requirements.


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