Rfid at Walmart

Topics: Supply chain management, Supply chain, RFID Pages: 9 (2895 words) Published: May 6, 2013

Walmart has expanded as the largest retailer since it opened doors over 50 years ago, incorporating various information technology systems into their supply chain and logistical operations. Walmart is known for being the first with new innovation by utilizing new information functions to increase profits. By implementing Radio Frequency Identification Data opens communication to retailers more effectively and efficiently. This gives Walmart and suppliers accurate inventory levels, reduced cost, sales and competitive advantages.

Walmart opened the first store on July 2, 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas by Sam Walton. The mission for Walmart is to provide lower prices so people could live better. In 2012, Walmart has over 2.2 million associates worldwide and 200 million customers per week at more than 10,000 stores in 27 countries (“History Timeline”, 2013). Effective and efficient supply chain management plays a key role to maintain everyday low prices, great customer service and quality merchandise that Walmart continues to dominant the market as the number one retailer in 2012. Over the past years Walmart made improvements in technology by updating from cash registers in 1983 to computerized point-of-sales systems for faster and accurate checkout. Next, Walmart installed the largest satellite communication system, linking operations with voice, data and video communication (“History Timeline”, 2013). Technology advancements with Walmart’s supply chain management can be attributed to high profits, repeat customers, product availability and offering everyday low prices. Walmart prides itself on innovation of information systems as the first retailer in using Radio Frequency Identification Data (RFID) to transfer logistics operations. RFID Technology

According to Spychips.com, “RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification, a technology that uses tiny computer chips smaller than a grain of sand to track items at a distance” (“ What is RFID,” 2013). RFID tags have three main parts the tag, a reader and computer.

WALMART’s IMPLEMENTATION OF RFID TAGS 4 Each tag can contain up to 2 kilobytes of information. Readers are attached to an antenna, transmitting data from RFID tags to computer processing. This gives Walmart immediate access to real time inventory levels, sales, pricing, expired produce and unique numerical identification codes that can be scanned from more than a 100 feet, to track merchandise traveling through their supply chains (“ RFID Basics”, 2013). RFID tags come in two forms active and passive. “Active tags have a transmitter and their own power source (typically a battery). The power source is used to run the microchip's circuitry and to broadcast a signal to a reader (the way a cell phone transmits signals to a base station). Passive tags have no battery. Instead, they draw power from the reader, which sends out electromagnetic waves that induce a current in the tag's antenna” (“What's the difference between passive and active tags?” 2013). Walmart is recognized for bringing the latest RFID technology systems to its logistics operations. The information technology strategy offers a centralized approach for worldwide operations as a one size fits all supply chain system to be utilized around the globe. The RFID technology is another critical asset to Walmart’s business plan from inventory control to...

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