Wal-Mart Gets A Head Start With RFID

Jan 28, 2004

By George Anderson

The majority of U.S. retailers appear in no rush to follow Wal-Mart’s lead
in deploying radio frequency identification (RFID) technology and analysts think
that’s probably a smart move.

Gib Carey, a partner at Bain & Co told Reuters, “As long as the other retailers
are spending a minimal amount of effort — having experts getting familiar with
it, staying in touch with (RFID researchers) — it is a reasonable strategy
to let Wal-Mart do the experimenting and refinement.”

A survey by BearingPoint found only 23 percent of U.S. retailers considered
pursuing RFID as a priority for 2004.

Wal-Mart is looking to have RFID technology in place with its top 100 suppliers
by the beginning of 2005.

Scott Hardy, a vice president with BearingPoint told Reuters, “Somebody
has to be first, but you don’t want to give them too much of a lead-time.”

Moderator’s Comment: Is it a good idea or mistake for
retailers who compete with Wal-Mart to let it take the lead with RFID?

Germany’s Metro obviously doesn’t think so. The world’s third largest retailer is reported to be the furthest along with its RFID implementation efforts.

Anderson – Moderator

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