To help companies concerned about keeping up with radio frequency identification requirements being pushed by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and others, RedPrairie Corp. has released an RFID accelerator designed to make existing warehouse systems compatible with RFID. "Retailers rarely get reliable advance shipment notices, but this is a way to get reliable ASNs and expedite receiving and distribution at the retail warehouse," Noah Dixon, retail industry strategist for RedPrairie, tells InternetRetailer.com.
The accelerator is designed with software agents that collect and verify RFID tag information on pallets and containers of goods as they`re shipped throughout the supply chain, without requiring the user to replace existing infrastructure, Dixon says.
Wal-Mart and Target Corp. have begun to set plans for receiving shipments under an RFID system, which provides for faster and more accurate tracking and receiving of goods as their RFID tags are automatically scanned for product and shipment information by RFID readers.
Wal-Mart has set a deadline of January 2005 to begin receiving all pallets with RFID tags from its largest suppliers. This is expected to cause a rippling effect throughout the retail industry, as more suppliers as well as retailers are forced into using similar systems in order to keep up with the improved efficiency in moving goods throughout their supply chains.
As an RFID-tagged pallet passes by an RFID reader at a distribution center receiving dock, for example, it will automatically show extensive ASN details on a computer screen, including product descriptions and information on exactly where and when each product or case is supposed to be forwarded, such as to a store or regional warehouse, Dixon says. Earlier versions of ASNs not supported by RFID technology typically provide far less extensive information on incoming shipments, he adds.
Although he`s unable to give a price range for RedPrairie`s RFID accelerator, Dixon notes it is designed to be easily implemented. He adds that RedPrairie expects to continue developing new versions of the RFID accelerator to suit the needs of different types of large and small retailers.