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Wal-Mart Set For RFID Pilot With Pharmaceutical Suppliers

Not all 18 suppliers are ready to go yet, but they will be by the end of June, a spokesman says.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is set to begin on Wednesday a radio-frequency identification pilot with its pharmaceutical suppliers at an undisclosed location. Not all suppliers are in compliance. A handful are ready now, and others will join shortly--but all 18 are expected onboard and compliant by the end of June, a Wal-Mart spokesman says.

The program is separate from the April 19 working program in which eight suppliers from various industries--electronics, health and beauty, food--will begin shipping RFID-tagged cases and pallets to three Dallas distribution centers.

News of the test comes as a new Forrester Research report says the retailer's push to get its top suppliers to toe the RFID party line is going nowhere fast. The report says Wal-Mart's bid to force its top 100 suppliers to guarantee 100% readability of case and pallet RFID tags isn't working. Fewer than a quarter of the suppliers will meet the retailer's deadline of Jan. 1, Forrester says. As recently as December, Forrester was predicting that about 60% of Wal-Mart suppliers would beat the 2005 deadline.

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