September 3, 2004, 12:00 AM

RFID support systems moving to mid-size companies, analyst says

While RFID has become a buzz term among talk of supply chain trends, it’s still mostly associated with efforts of major retailers like Wal-Mart Stores and Target. But now RFID vendors are expanding their offerings for smaller companies.

While RFID has become a buzz term of supply chain trends, it’s still mostly associated with efforts of major retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Best Buy Co. Inc. But now RFID vendors are expanding their offerings for smaller companies, says Dwight Klappich, vice president and RFID analyst at research and analysis firm Meta Group.

RFID, or radio frequency identification, uses a system of RFID tags and readers to identify and track over the Internet the movement of goods throughout supplier-to-retailer supply chains. Although still in pilot stages at major retailers including Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy, technology providers are expanding their RFID offerings to mid-market companies, Klappich says.

For example, SSA Global launched this week its SSA RFID for Distribution as the first of several applications for RFID-supported warehouse management, an area where RFID can bring near-term value in tracking assets, Klappich says. “As RFID starts to move down to the mid-market, SSA will be in a good position to help companies meet these mandates,” he says.

Other companies expanding their RFID offerings that will integrate RFID systems with applications like warehouse management include such major vendors as Oracle Corp., SAP and Peoplesoft Inc., he says.

RFID projects will continue to be dominated by large companies over the next couple of years, but other, smaller companies are beginning to make early preparations for their own RFID systems, Klappich says.

Forrester Research reports that, as RFID projects move beyond the initial mandates set by Wal-Mart and others for major suppliers to ship all cases and pallets with RFID tags, market demand will grow for RFID middleware products that help integrate RFID data with applications like warehouse management as well as help maintain RFID infrastructure.

 

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