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Piggly Wiggly Carolina Eyes RFID

With the aid of data synch firm GXS, the 113-store franchise of the Piggly Wiggly grocery chain is getting ready to accept RFID-tagged shipments.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Not all retailers that have enacted RFID mandates, however, are requiring suppliers to include EPCs in their ASNs. Wal-Mart, for instance, does not yet require its suppliers to include the EPCs of tagged shipments in the ASNs preceding them to distribution centers or stores.

By the end of the year, says Bolt, Piggly Wiggly Carolina also hopes to upgrade its warehouse management system, a platform provided by SSA Global. The grocer's goal is to be able to process EPCs by the end of the year, so that it will be prepared to receive ASNs with EPCs—and also to check tagged inventory into its DCs via RFID.

In addition, GXS wants to help suppliers get ready for RFID. At the NRF conference, GXS announced a new platform designed to help manufacturers meet RFID mandates, while also synchronizing their product information with the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN). This distributed system was deployed by 1SYNCH (formerly the UCCnet) for manufacturers and retailers, enabling real-time product attribute harmonization. The offering, called RFID Accelerator, includes software by EPCsolutions that enables users to create and manage EPCs, manage RFID devices and filter collected RFID data.

Also part of the RFID Accelerator is the GXS platform Quick Connect, used to synchronize internal product data with the GSDN. "Other companies offer RFID compliance packages," says Larry Rushing, GXS director of product management, "but they haven't included [tools to help manufacturers establish] accurate and synchronized data. This is an important part of our product, because if you don't have [synchronized data], two trading partners might not be sharing the same information." Data synchronization is often cited as an important foundation and critical first step for companies to take advantage of RFID and other new technologies requiring participants to exchange information in a standardized format.

GXS says RFID Accelerator is available now. Pricing starts at just under $5,000 for one site license. RFID hardware, such as RFID printers-encoders, tags, interrogators and antennas, is not included, nor are registration fees required to join the GXS GDSN-compliant data pool, a repository of product information. The GXS data pool supports all current GDSN standards and meets interoperability requirements with other data pools.

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