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Wal-Mart Canada Making RFID Progress
Twenty Wal-Mart stores in Canada are collecting RFID data, helping to eliminate overstocks; the retailer will study the impact of harsh winter weather on RFID equipment.
Nov 27, 2007—With 20 stores equipped with RFID readers and a dozen suppliers tagging shipments of goods bound for those stores, Wal-Mart Canada's nascent RFID deployment is up and running, said Nicole O'Connor, director of the organization's information systems division, at the opening keynote of the second annual RFID Journal LIVE! Canada conference in Toronto, Ontario. And while the scope of Wal-Mart Canada's RFID deployment is dwarfed by that of its U.S. parent company—which involves more than 1,000 stores and 600 suppliers—that doesn't mean the technology's potential impact on the 278-store Canadian chain is insignificant.
"We've done some estimates into what the impact [of adopting RFID] would be to Wal-Mart globally, and it's in the millions of dollars," O'Connor told attendees. Wal-Mart Canada, she said, is focused on using RFID technology to eliminate product out-of-stocks as an initial area of benefit.
Thus far, O'Connor indicated, the equipment is performing well, with a 99.5 percent read rate since the stores began reading tags this summer. While the company has not yet gathered definitive data regarding out-of-stock reductions or sales lift based on its RFID use, it has seen a 42 percent reduction in manual orders placed by store associates across the 20 stores using RFID, according to Michael Vitalei, Wal-Mart Canada's RFID strategy manager.
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