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Wal-Mart Updates Top Suppliers On RFID Project

The company is seeking input based on where suppliers have distribution centers and manufacturing plants.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s top 100-plus suppliers participating in the radio-frequency identification project gathered in Bentonville, Ark., on Monday to hear an update on the January 2005 implementation, and provide feedback on which of the 120 distribution centers in the United States should make the list next, if the retailer decides to expand the project. The next 200 suppliers convened in Bentonville on Wednesday to hear similar updates.

Wal-Mart executives are seeking input based on where suppliers have distribution centers and manufacturing plants, according to a company spokesman.

The Sanger, Texas, distribution center near Dallas was chosen to start the project because it caters to movement of grocery items and products moving either into Wal-Mart Neighbor Market, Sam's Club, and Wal-Mart Stores. The Dallas area also has an eclectic customer base where Wal-Mart can gain feedback to tagging various products. And last, no other tests were being done at the location.

Suppliers who attended the event gained renewed enthusiasm for the project through speakers and special events geared toward assisting them in implementing projects on time. "This Wal-Mart summit for suppliers is probably the most mature RFID conference I have attended because you can really see the products and projects mature," says Howard Stockdale, CIO at Beaver Street Fisheries.

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