Metro Group chooses Intermec for RFID innovation

Related tags Metro group Supply chain Supply chain management

German-based wholesaler and retailer Metro Group has selected
Intermec Technologies to provide a range of RFID (radio frequency
identification) inventory tracking systems for its Metro Group
Innovation Centre, which opened today in Neuss, Germany.

The Innovation Centre is designed to give Metro Group's suppliers access to live RFID demonstrations, systems and products.

Intermec​, a leading supplier of global supply chain solutions and wireless automated data collection, is supplying RFID forklift, conveyor and dock door readers for the centre, as well as RFID-enabled mobile computers and printers.

The partnership builds on Intermec' RFID participation in Metro Group's Future Store in Rheinberg, Germany, which demonstrates how emerging technologies can benefit retailing operations from inventory to point of sale. Intermec provides RFID case and pallet-level tracking capabilities to the Future Store.

"We're pleased to be a part of Metro Group's continued commitment to RFID innovation,"​ said Intermec president Tom Miller. "At its new Innovation Centre, Metro Group​ is again demonstrating how retailers and retail suppliers can harness the powerful business benefits of RFID to make their supply chains even more responsive and productive. That increases business profitability and customer satisfaction."

Areas of profitability improvement from supply chain RFID include: reduced shrink and loss of inventory, reduced out of stock conditions at store level, more efficient transportation and logistics, less inventory and lower labour costs associated with receiving.

"Verifying the business advantages of new technologies such as Intermec's RFID has vividly illustrated how retailers can increase system-wide efficiency and inventory accuracy while at the same time increasing profits,"​ said Dr Gerd Wolfram, executive project manager of the Metro Group Future Store Initiative.

"An RFID pioneer, Intermec knows RFID. Its participation in this groundbreaking innovation environment is one way Metro Group is ensuring the suppliers receive accurate and essential information on how best to integrate RFID into their own supply chain systems."

The Future Store in Rheinberg is a project of the Metro Group Future Store Initiative. In the Future Store, Metro Group, together with 45 partners from the IT, consumer goods and service industry, tests the application and interaction of various new technologies for retailing under real conditions.

The objective of the project is the development of benefit-focused solutions that lead to advantages for the consumer and the retail and consumer goods industries alike.

RFID technology is being driven hard by retailers such as Wal-Mart, which see RFID as the natural replacement of industry's current bar code-based tracking systems, allowing companies to automatically track inventory throughout an entire supply chain. RFID automatic data collection typically does not require line of sight or manual scanning as do most bar code-based systems. For example, information from RFID-tagged cases on a pallet can be read automatically using fixed, mobile or handheld readers rather than requiring individual bar code scanning.

Wal-Mart is now but six months away from its deadline for the top 100 suppliers to put tags on all pallets and cases. In Europe, legislation enforcing manufacturing traceability comes into force in January 2005.

As the largest single customer of many manufacturers in the US, Wal-Mart is seen as the driving force behind the concept. The organisation is trying to create the critical mass necessary for RFID to take off, and expects all 10,000 of its suppliers to tag their cases and pallets by January 2006.

Wal-Mart believes that the pilot scheme has so far been very encouraging. "We're seeing the positive results we expected,"​ said Linda Dillman, executive vice president and CIO for Wal-Mart Stores. "We also anticipated hitting a few minor bumps in the road, which has happened. The whole reason for a pilot is to fix any last minute issues and clear the path for a smooth implementation. That's what we're doing and we're looking forward to January 2005 with great expectations."

Related topics Processing & packaging

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