News.com writes about a landmark decision by Walmart which will make WiFi a reality: “Wal-Mart Stores announced that by Jan. 1, 2005, radio frequency identification technology would become a requirement for doing business with the world’s largest retailer.”
Wal-Mart’s pragmatic decision to start with RFID tags in the warehouse at the pallet and case level is quite prudent. Instead of rushing into things, Wal-Mart’s more measured approach toward RFID offers a good model. Businesses can give suppliers the capability to produce RFID pallet or case labels with minimal technology–a browser session and a remote label printer.
Then, as cases are unloaded from the truck through an RFID receiving portal, all the information associated with the tags gets captured and updated in real time for better inventory visibility. This allows businesses to experience some of the most critical benefits of RFID, including increased inventory accuracy and decreased labor costs within their facility.
As trading partners begin adopting RFID, the focus of labeling at the pallet or case level can then be extended to labeling at the unit level and so on. As with any new or emerging technology, there is incremental value with each step of an RFID implementation.