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BlogsAsk The Experts ForumWhat Would Be the Best Way for a Local Supermarket to Transition to RFID Technology?

What Would Be the Best Way for a Local Supermarket to Transition to RFID Technology?

Posted By RFID Journal, 08.20.2015

I think our IT is more than capable for using radio frequency identification, but I question the process of RFID tagging, implementation and so forth. Is there a good model store I can look at?

—Name withheld


The best thing to do would be to look at where you have your particular problems. Are you losing money because seafood or meats are going bad? Are steaks and other high-value items being stolen? Are cases of goods, such as fresh coffee beans, vanishing from the back of the store? I would focus on these issues and try to resolve them.

There are not a lot of supermarket case studies to which I can refer you, since retailers have felt that there was not enough value in tracking cases and pallets, and that RFID was too expensive to use on individual items. One supermarket that has deployed RFID is Hy-Vee, which monitors the temperatures of shipments in order to ensure that produce is always fresh (see Hy-Vee Supermarkets Track Perishables to Ensure Freshness). Australia's Woolworths supermarket chain ran a pilot to test RFID's ability to ensure that food is always fresh (see Australia's Woolworths Supermarket Chain Studies RFID), but I am unsure if the retailer ever implemented the system across all of its stores.

I believe that there is value in using RFID on pallets and cases to reduce out-of-stocks. This was Walmart's original intent, and had suppliers bought into it and tagged everything they sent to Walmart, the system would have delivered value. A 2012 study conducted in Italy confirmed this (see Italian Study Shows How RFID Can Help Reduce Supermarket Overstocks). I think that as the cost of tags come down and the technology matures, we'll see more supermarkets deploying RFID.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal


Daniellr Storey 2015-08-20 04:06:00 PM
I think the first step for any business embracing technology to understand the benefit they are trying to reach first. In retail what we commonly see is as you mention above, trying to stop high value items being stolen and to better manage resources (waste minimization). The best approach is to understand and quantify the impact of these issues in the particular business before deciding what provides value for money if investing in technology. This is something that we do at Smarter Technology Solutions and it works well for our customers. To also answer your specific questions about the technology there are some isolated case studies of RFID and other IOT type solutions in retail but those that are likely to be most successful attack it as a holistic business process and operational cost model approach. Im happy to chat with you further if you like, please get in touch via our website if youre interested. Regards, Danielle Storey www.smartertechnologysolutions.com.au

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