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The Top 10 Stories of 2009

It was a tough year for every industry, so it's no surprise there was both good and bad news for the RFID sector.
By Mark Roberti
Jan 04, 2010Every year, I take a look back at the top news stories from the previous year. There were no major stories in 2009—nothing of Tiger Woods proportions, anyway. No companies announced major new mandates, and no vendors announced transformational technological breakthroughs. But there was plenty of news. Here's a look back at some of the most significant stories RFID Journal published last year.

Texas Instruments Reorganizes RFID Business (January)
Texas Instruments (TI), one of the leading manufacturers of radio frequency identification technology, reorganized its RFID operations and laid off some employees. The cost-cutting move didn't spell the end of TI's role in the RFID market, however. The firm continues to produce systems for automobile immobilizers and for tracking cattle, but is no longer manufacturing ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags.

Sam's Club Provides Clarity on EPC RFID Plans (January)
Sam's Club, the warehouse retail division of Wal-Mart Stores, sent a letter to its suppliers clarifying its plans to use Electronic Product Code (EPC) tags to track pallets and sellable units. The letter indicated the retailer "remains committed to the vision of 100 percent EPC RFID labeling on sellable units," and that the initiative will deliver "game-changing services and value" to club members, while also delivering value to suppliers. The letter spelled out Sam's plans for implementing EPC RFID technology, provided suppliers with additional time to comply with the tagging requirements at both the pallet and sellable-unit level, and let suppliers know that Sam's Club would charge them only 12 cents, rather than $2.50, to tag each pallet for them.

End Users Plan to Invest Strategically in RFID in 2009 (February)
An RFID Journal survey of 100 end users and potential end users of radio frequency identification indicated that most viewed the technology as a tool that could help them lower costs immediately, as well as improve long-term efficiencies and gain a competitive advantage. Of those who responded, 70 percent indicated that in past recessions, their companies benefited from investing in information and other technologies.

Procter & Gamble Halts Tagging of Promotional Displays (February)
The Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G), a pioneer in the use of EPC technologies in the supply chain, ceased placing EPC tags on promotional displays bound for Wal-Mart's RFID-enabled stores. Kim Zimmer, P&G's leader for global EPC RFID technology and operations, sent an e-mail in February to the company's contract manufacturers, stating, "P&G has made the decision to end the EPC display tagging project at Wal-Mart, effective immediately." The move was apparently not made because the data collected was deemed not to be of value, but rather because P&G was frustrated that Wal-Mart was not acting on the information to improve promotions management.

Charles Vögele Group Finds RFID Helps It Stay Competitive (April)
Charles Vögele Group, the largest clothing retailer in Switzerland, reported that RFID technology helped it illuminate what it calls the "black holes" in its supply chain, while also reducing stock-outs and the amount of time spent counting inventory by 50 percent, according to Thomas Beckmann, the company's head of supply chain. The company was awarded the 2009 RFID Journal Award for the best implementation, for being among the first businesses to employ RFID to track individual items from the point of manufacture to the moment they are sold.

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