IBM announced a new service to help retailers and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies on using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology for advanced product tracking and inventory control.
IBM made the announcement at the Electronic Product Code Symposium, where the company conducted live demonstrations of pallets and computer read-outs that show how goods move through the RFID system, and how payments and inventory are expedited.
IBM’s offering, which comprises consulting and implementation services as well as specialised software, gives companies a phased approach to RFID. It is based on Websphere Business Integrator running on WebSphere Application Server, DB2 Information Integrator, Tivoli Access Manager, and WebSphere Portal Server.
It is estimated that the retail industry, alone, could reduce inventory levels by 25 percent, saving billions of dollars annually by tagging products and using computers to automatically trace them from the warehouse through shipping and to store shelves. In June, executives at Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, called for their top 100 suppliers to implement an RFID system at the case and pallet level by 2005. More recently this was extended to all their suppliers by 2006.