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Once RFID Milestone Passes, Focus Shifts To More Suppliers

Jan. 1, 2005. That's the date that Simon Langford, manager of global RFID strategy, expects to realize one of the biggest accomplishments of his career in retail
Wal-Mart's Way Table Of Contents:
  • Page1: Insourcing IT And Software Development
  • Page 2: The Potential Of RFID
  • Page 3: Massive, Centralized Infrastructure
  • Sidebars:
  • Wal-Mart CIO Linda Dillman On RFID
  • People First: Talent Development Is A Wal-Mart Hallmark
  • Wal-Mart's RFID Mandates: Separating Fact From Fiction
  • A Leader-To-Be With A Diverse Background
  • Once RFID Milestone Passes, Focus Shifts To More Suppliers
  • IT's Role In Realizing the Possible
  • Case Study in Fast-Track Career Growth
  • Battle-Hardened Director Of Information Security
  • Quick Poll: Outsource vs. Insource

  • Simon Langford, manager of global RFID strategyJan. 1, 2005. That's the date that Simon Langford, manager of global RFID strategy, expects to realize one of the biggest accomplishments of his career in retail. It is, of course, the go-live date for more than 100 suppliers participating in Wal-Mart's ambitious radio-frequency identification initiative. Langford has been living and breathing those plans since March 2003, when Wal-Mart formed its team of just four RFID pioneers, which has since doubled.

    "How can you do something as big as this with just four people?" he asks. The answer, he says, is that it wasn't just a team of four people, when you consider the enormous energy and resources of the whole Wal-Mart "we're merchants first" team being behind the effort.

    "It is one team," says Langford, who's been with Wal-Mart's U.S. operations for three years. "People understand the impact on the business if we can't get a project out on time. You struggle to find that in other places."

    Straight From The Source

    Wal-Mart's RFID information page for suppliers

    Wal-Mart press release on the rollout of electronic product codes

    The Wal-Mart Culture, including 3 basic beliefs

    Sam Walton and the Sundown Rule

    The History of Wal-Mart

    Biography of CIO Linda Dillman


    Not that Langford will be anywhere near done come January. Already his team is working with the next 200 suppliers set to go live to get them up to speed, and by the end of 2006, more than 20,000 domestic suppliers will be engaged in the RFID program at some level.

    So, while Langford promises a celebration when the first 130 suppliers go live, it won't be an all-night party.

    Photo of Wal-Mart courtesy of Knight Ridder