January 15, 2004, 12:00 AM

A European effort to promote electronic product codes and RFID

Three large European retailers, Carrefour, Metro Group and Tesco, and Intel Corp. have formed a European working group to accelerate the adoption of electronic product code technology.

Three large European retailers and Intel Corp. have formed a European working group to accelerate the adoption of electronic product code technology, the companies announced at the NRF convention in New York City this week. The group, which includes France-based Carrefour, Germany-based Metro Group and U.K.-based Tesco, believes that a standard approach to electronic product codes will make supply chain operations and inventory management more efficient.

Adoption of electronic product codes will permit broader use of radio frequency i.d. tags, considered by many the future of inventory and supply chain management. But RFID won’t work unless there are standard practices for the codes that the tags carry, as well as business processes that make RFID and EPC codes work and technology that support them. One of the promises of RFID technology is that supply chain management can become web-based as retailers and suppliers use the Internet to track the movement of goods based on data transmitted from RFID tags.

The group, which will be known as the EPC Retail Users Group of Europe, said one of its goals is to develop white papers on successful implementations and technologies to share with others in the industry.

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