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3/5/2004
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Albertsons Joins RFID Brigade

Like Wal-Mart and Target, the food and drug retailer is mandating that suppliers tag cases and pallets they ship with RFID tags.

Radio-frequency identification technology has yet another major backer. Albertsons Inc., the $36 billion food and drug retailer, said Friday that its top 100 suppliers must participate in its RFID program by April 2005. Like those of retailers Wal-Mart, Target, and Metro Group, as well as the U.S. Department of Defense, Albertsons suppliers will need to tag all cases and pallets they ship with RFID tags.

All of the retailers are hoping that RFID will improve their supply chains and in-stock rates by making it easier to locate products as they move from suppliers to distribution centers and ultimately to individual stores "We'll be able to instantly locate products as they flow through our supply chain, making sure the right products are in the right place at the right time as we focus on making our customers' lives easier," Bob Dunst, executive VP and chief technology officer at Albertsons, said in a statement.

Albertsons has been an active member of EPCglobal, which is overseeing commercial and technical standards for RFID and the Electronic Product Code Network. The EPC Network will let companies share product data in real time.

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