Kurt Peters , Executive Editor
BENTONVILLE, Ark., April 13 -- The pioneering work at Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) to mine the supply chain benefits of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) will continue unabated under the Wal-Mart Information Systems Division`s new leader.
Rollin Ford, Wal-Mart`s new executive vice president and chief information officer, who previously served as the company`s executive vice president of logistics and supply chain, strongly endorsed RFID technology at the biannual CIO summit, hosted by Wal-Mart on Wednesday in Bentonville.
Ford told the audience of CIOs he was thrilled to be in his new position and that both logistics and information systems were at the center of Wal- Mart`s competitive advantage. Ford said he intended to build on the success of his predecessor, Linda Dillman, who was named executive vice president of risk management and benefits administration at Wal-Mart.
Ford said he was unequivocally committed to Dillman`s vision and to the pioneering work in RFID that she led at Wal-Mart.
"Like Linda, I view RFID as a strategy that offers tremendous competitive advantage," he said. "There will be no slowing down. I have been a member of the Wal-Mart RFID executive steering committee for the past three years, so I know firsthand that we have a great team working on RFID. I am as excited about what lies ahead as they are."
Ford reaffirmed the company`s commitment to the EPC standard and said he was impressed with the step change in performance the company had seen through the use of the EPC Gen 2 standard. "When Gen 2 was released we planned to make it our standard at the beginning of this year," Ford said. "We have done that, and I can confirm that we will be sunsetting Gen 1 on June 30."
Ford also confirmed his enthusiasm for the advancements he had witnessed only a couple of weeks earlier in UHF Gen 2 tags specially produced for pharmaceuticals. "Many thought UHF tags could not be read around water or metal and that only HF tags could meet these tests. However our team and our technology partners proved that the new UHF Gen 2 tags could, in fact, be read in water and on metal. That`s nothing short of a breakthrough."
He closed by saying: "RFID will transform the way we do business, and I am privileged to be a part of this technology that is bringing positive change to Wal-Mart, the retail industry and many other sectors as well."
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM`S CLUB locations in the United States. Internationally, the company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom. The company`s securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting http://www.walmartfacts.com/ . Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com/ .
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.