September 1, 2004, 12:00 AM

Best Buy tells major suppliers to be up on RFID by January 2006

Best Buy launched an RFID strategy yesterday by announcing that it expects all of its major suppliers to begin shipping cases and pallets with RFID tags by January 2006.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Best Buy Co. Inc. launched an RFID strategy yesterday by announcing that it expects all of its major suppliers to begin shipping cases and pallets with RFID tags by January 2006 and all of it suppliers to ship cases and pallets with RFID tags by May 2007.

"Our goal is to create a flexible, high-velocity supply chain operating with better product availability for customers at a lower total cost for the company," says Bob Willett, executive vice president of operations for Best Buy. "We believe RFID technology can transform the way products are produced, distributed and merchandised. Our own operations, customers and suppliers can share in the benefits."

The RFID, or radio frequency identification tags, will be used to transmit the shipment status of products through the web-based Electronic Product Code Network, which retailers with RFID strategies will use to access product data. Retailers expect the system to help them better plan for disruptions in supply chains and to increase customer service by making sure shelves are stocked when customers are ready to buy.

“Our EPC strategy should ultimately result in a better customer experience,” Willett says. “Customers will be able to more easily find the products they want, when they want them. In the long term, we hope that implementing EPC will enable us to enhance customer service and expedite processes for returns and warranties."

 

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