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10/4/2004
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Microsoft Steps Up RFID Focus Among Small, Midsized Businesses

The vendor's Business Solutions unit said it aims to help smaller companies deploy RFID in their supply chains, and Jack Link's Beef Jerky is a prime example.

Microsoft Business Solutions last week reported it would focus on helping small and midsized manufacturing companies deploy radio-frequency identification strategies in their manufacturing supply chains. Jack Link's Beef Jerky is the latest Microsoft Business Solutions customer to report it's relying on Microsoft products to become compliant based on mandates set from Wal-Mart Stores, Target, and the Department of Defense.

With plans to include RFID technology as part of its ERP solutions, Microsoft Business Solutions will offer a range of capabilities, from RFID reader management to functionality required to translate reader events into information translatable into business processes. Future releases include Microsoft Business Solutions Axapta 4.0, Microsoft Navision 5.0, and the next major release of Microsoft Business Solutions"Great Plains, which is scheduled for release in September 2005.

These Microsoft offers are aiming for an out-of-the-box RFID platform with core business processes and a flexible and extensible framework on which partners can implement customer-specific processes. Key to Microsoft Business Solutions success is partnerships with ABC Computers, Avery Dennison, SAMsys Technologies, and SATO America. These companies are working closely with Microsoft to serve Jack Link's Beef Jerky.

But the 100 year-old snack maker isn't the only RFID-related small- and midsized-business customer on its list. Microsoft in July told InformationWeek it was gearing up for more than a dozen RFID trials. This follows an announcement of a pilot project with Dutch snack maker KiMs, under way since December, that includes Demand Planner, an application based on the Excel spreadsheet that applies real-time data to sales forecasts, and a notification system that sends messages within supply-chain environments.

Return to main story, Beyond The RFID Mandate

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