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Haier America Tags Freezers and Fridges

The manufacturer has integrated its RFID system with its ERP software and is affixing EPC Gen 2 UHF tags on the four appliances it supplies to Wal-Mart.
By Claire Swedberg
May 14, 2007Appliance manufacturer Haier America is affixing EPC Gen 2 UHF RFID tags to four of its products shipped from its own warehouse in Edison, N.J., and from a facility in Walnut, Calif., operated by logistics service provider Dura Freight Lines. For now, the company is using the technology solely to satisfy Wal-Mart's requirement that the products it receives are tagged with RFID.

Haier America has installed an RFID system consisting of Avery Dennison RFID inlays embedded in labels provided by Nashua Corp., Printronix printers, and Motorola's interrogators. The manufacturer spent approximately $10,000 to implement the RFID system, and for now, Haier America doesn't want to spend any more money on the technology because it hasn't determined if there will be a strong return on investment, according to Michael Moser, Haier America's director of IT. "It's a very simplistic system—that's what we needed," he says. "We knew that at this point, RFID would bring nothing to the table for us. We had only one goal: to make our customer, Wal-Mart, happy."

Kevin Beasley, VAI's CIO
Moser began researching RFID shortly after learning that the company was in the group of Wal-Mart suppliers that had to begin using RFID by January 2007 (other groups of suppliers have had to implement RFID earlier, starting in January 2005). The mandate meant Haier America would have to tag four products it ships to the retailer's RFID-enabled distribution centers: two compact refrigerators, one larger refrigerator and one freezer. In 2006, Haier America shipped hundreds of thousands of units to Wal-Mart, and about half of those will be tagged with RFID this year.

Moser says his initial research on RFID was frustrating. He could understand little of the information available on Wal-Mart's or EPCglobal's Web sites and had difficulty determining exactly what the overall RFID requirements were. At an EPCglobal conference, however, he met a Wal-Mart representative who helped him through the process, including assisting with testing RFID tags that Haier America sent to him.

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