Walmart submitted patents for drone delivery officially, but automation is not a new concept in the retail sector. The following write-up specifies how exactly Walmart leveraged RFID (radio frequency identification) technology to systematize as well as enhance their business operations. Please check it out right now.
How Walmart Implemented RFID?
The experts offering the best inventory RFID system said RFID was noticed by the general public due to Walmart.
In the year 2003, no one really knew about radio frequency identification. However, this changed drastically when Walmart, a colossal retail chain, declared that their top suppliers must have RFID tags attached to all pallets and cases of incoming consignments. In the previous year, Walmart introduced its RFID-based tracking solution with seven stores throughout Texas and only eight suppliers.
Besides consignments, electronic appliances such as CDs, stereos, and television sets were also tagged because they are valuable. Walmart tried increasing the number of stores participating gradually, aiming to have RFID implemented everywhere.
The authorities of Walmart knew that the company was lacking in customer satisfaction and sales due to incorrect stock numbers. They hoped to improve the supply chain visibility and make more precise ordering decisions, which were possible through RFID.
Many other well-known retailers such as Home Depot, Best Buy, Metro, Target, and European Tesco also followed Walmart and began adopting or at least experimenting with RFID.
A Rocky Beginning
Although it was clear that Walmart’s RFID launch was effective, the infancy of the technology led to a couple of problems. Major ones among the lot include:
- Tag Purchasing
As RFID was new for both Walmart and the suppliers, no one knew who must be held accountable for purchasing the tags, and this proves to be a big obstacle. It is understood now that no matter who purchases the tags, their cost will be incorporated in the overall price of the products once they appear on the store shelves.
- Poor Adhesives
Several tags had poor adhesives, which compel them to detach from the cases or pallets. Thus, the products became unreadable. The adhesive used at present are much more durable. Some RFID tags are equipped with an industrial binding agent or special adhesives that can easily endure water, heat, and other harsh environmental conditions.
- Accepted Reading Rates
A few Walmart locations failed to procure acceptable reading rates. A huge portion of the tags were unreadable. This is because the cases contain or are manufactured from materials that hinder RF waves, such as some liquids and metals. This problem is now thankfully resolved through custom tags and other mitigation strategies. The modern-day RFIDs have 99% accurate reading rates.
Well, by the year 2010, RFID technology had grown enough so much so that Walmart was tracking its deliveries to the stores as well as the goods inside the stores with RFID. It is in the same year that Walmart announced it would utilize RFID for tracking sales floor products like men’s clothing.
Taking inspiration from this application, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and plenty other top-notch retail establishments began using RFID for tracking clothes.
Walmart and RFID have helped one another to evolve. The latter has gained extensive recognition all across the globe now. The average cost of each tag is quite reasonable. Due to such advancements, it has become easy to utilize the tags in huge quantities for detecting shipments as well as locating products through the sales cycle.
The retailers who do wish to stay in the online limelight must look up to Walmart’s accomplishments with RFID, even if that means delivering the items via drone. No one can really predict how else this particular technology could be incorporated into the vast retail landscape.