European Retailers Accelerate RFID Plans - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Hardware & Infrastructure

European Retailers Accelerate RFID Plans

Germany's Metro and U.K.'s Tesco and Marks & Spencer work on advanced projects

European retailers have big ambitions when it comes to radio-frequency identification technology. Those leading the way--Marks & Spencer, Metro Group, and Tesco--are advancing their initiatives and, in some cases, bypassing the U.S. competition with more-mature RFID trials and futuristic applications.

Last week, at the National Retail Federation's annual conference in New York, Metro showcased an RFID-enabled hanging-garment sorter that it says can automate the routing of 4,000 to 8,000 garments every hour, versus only 150 pieces via manual sorting processes. The RFID application is just one of several the German retailer has under way at an RFID Innovation Center it opened in July in Neuss-Norf, Germany. Metro demonstrated the sorter during a live video feed at the conference. "Instead of doing this in the stores with service providers and suppliers, we thought it would be nice to have an innovation center where we could test their software and hardware in reconstructed stores and supermarket sections to prove their technology," says Zygmunt Mierdorf, Metro's CIO.

To test how consumers respond to RFID, Metro is tagging products from Kraft Foods, Procter & Gamble, and Gillette at its concept "store of the future." It will be at least two years before this project moves into Metro stores, mainly because it requires item-level tagging. Metro is accepting RFID-tagged pallets from 20 suppliers in select distribution centers and outlets of the Metro Cash & Carry, Real, and Kaufhof sales divisions, a project that began in November.


Tesco is expanding a yearlong trial that tracks the on-shelf availability of DVDs from two stores to 10.

Tesco is expanding a yearlong trial that tracks the on-shelf availability of DVDs from two stores to 10.

Photo by Andy Shaw/Bloomberg News
Tesco is expanding a yearlong trial tracking on-shelf availability of DVDs from two stores to 10. The U.K. retailer earlier this month ordered 4,000 RFID readers and 16,000 antennas from Tyco Fire & Security's ADT Security Services.

After early success with RFID tests, Marks & Spencer is expanding an initiative begun in 2002 to tag 3.5 million food and produce delivery trays. It takes only about 10 seconds to read a stack of RFID-tagged produce trays, compared with between 30 and 40 seconds for bar-coded trays, according to the U.K. retailer.

During the next few months, Marks & Spencer will extend the initiative from a U.K. food-distribution center in Barnsley to its remaining five. "The easy part for us is we have a closed-loop supply chain," said James Stafford, head of RFID at Marks & Spencer, during a presentation at the National Retail Federation conference. "Every food and apparel item is made to our specific specifications and carries our unique label."

The retailer heading up the RFID charge in the United States--Wal-Mart Stores Inc.--shows no sign of slowing. RFID is in use at 104 Wal-Mart stores, 36 Sam's Clubs, and three distribution centers, Linda Dillman, Wal-Mart's executive VP and CIO, said at the conference. The company has installed more than 14,000 pieces of hardware and run 230 miles of cable, and 57 out of the 100 suppliers who have to meet this month's deadline are shipping tagged cases and pallets. So far this month, Wal-Mart has read 7,161 tagged pallets and 210,390 tagged cases and has recorded 1.5 million electronic-product-code reads.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
This new report from InformationWeek explores what we've learned over the past year, critical trends around ITOps and SecOps, and where leaders are focusing their time and efforts to support a growing digital economy. Download it today!
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

News
Becoming a Self-Taught Cybersecurity Pro
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  6/9/2021
News
Ancestry's DevOps Strategy to Control Its CI/CD Pipeline
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  6/4/2021
Slideshows
IT Leadership: 10 Ways to Unleash Enterprise Innovation
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  6/8/2021
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll