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METRO Expands RFID to 200 More Locations

METRO Group announced plans to equip 200 of its Real stores with RFID readers to identify incoming goods, and to expand RFID receiving applications to its Metro Cash & Carry stores in France.
Mar 13, 2008This article was originally published by RFID Update.

March 13, 2008—METRO Group, the European retail conglomerate that uses RFID extensively throughout its operations, announced it is installing RFID systems at 200 of its Real hypermarket stores and at additional Metro Cash & Carry wholesale locations.

METRO is installing Gen2 readers at the receiving doors of Real stores to automatically identify incoming goods. The company previously began RFID-receiving operations at Real stores last October, and operates similar systems at its Metro Cash & Carry stores in Germany. The Metro Cash & Carry RFID program is now being extended to stores in France.

METRO reports the receiving-door readers enable it to identify incoming pallets and verify their contents in seconds, and reduces the time delivery drivers spend idling while waiting to unload their goods.

METRO Group is also moving forward with plans to use forklift-mounted RFID readers in cold-storage operations and elsewhere in its distribution centers following successful pilot testing, according to a spokesperson.

"The extension of the use of RFID at Real and Metro Cash & Carry demonstrates how the potential of RFID in retail logistics can be leveraged," Dr. Gerd Wolfram, managing director of MGI METRO Group Information Technology, said in the company's announcement.

METRO will also apply its own RFID labels to pallets en route to Metro Cash & Carry stores. UPM Raflatac will supply the smart labels, which use Gen2 integrated circuits (ICs) from NXP Semiconductors.

About 40 percent of pallets received at RFID-enabled Real stores are labeled by suppliers. To encourage more suppliers to apply RFID labels, METRO Group has partnered with RFID vendors to develop and promote "starter kits" to provide companies what they need to tag shipments, and is making more data available to suppliers through its Metro Link portal, according to a company spokesperson.

Checkpoint Systems is one of METRO's technology partners that offers kits to suppliers, and announced it won the contract to equip the next 200 Real stores with RFID readers.

METRO Group was already a leading RFID user before this week's announced expansion. Last year, the company announced it was moving from pilot to production, with plans to deploy RFID infrastructure at roughly 200 stores and distribution centers around Germany.

See the following RFID Update articles for more coverage on METRO Group's RFID activities:
  1. Top 10 RFID Developments of 2007, Part 3
  2. METRO Moves RFID Pilot to Production, Taps Reva
  3. METRO Unveils Warehouse-to-Checkout RFID System
  4. Why METRO's Item-Level RFID Deployment Matters
  5. Investor Analysis of Intermec RFID Deal with METRO
  6. METRO to Penalize RFID Non-compliance
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