Dressing Up RFID for

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2004-11-08 Print this article Print

Max Appeal"> Add to that the cost of RFID tags, which could easily amount to a $10 million hit for a company that ships 50 million tagged cases a year to Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., and a company would have to generate about $11.5 million in new savings to break even, according to Banker. He said he believes benefits will not be met until infrastructure requirements such as better readability with tags and more efficient warehouses are met.

According to EPCs Web site, EPC IS looks to accomplish "the description of alternative interfaces for capturing, securing and accessing EPC-related data at a functional level."

Faced with impending RFID mandates from Wal-Mart, Target Corp. and Albertsons Inc., Mark Engle, director of IT at Campbell Soup Co., cant afford to sit back and wait for standards to be developed. What hes looking for is a sense of reality when it comes to vendor claims. He has seen a limited demonstration of EPC IS and has a call out to IBM to get a better idea of the benefits.

"I want to see fact from fiction," said Engle in Camden, N.J. "I see a lot of fiction all over the place. We have a full suite of WebSphere—if its Blue, we bought it. But I havent had anyone come in and say, Hey, lets place this and try it out. I find that interesting."

Engle and Campbell Soup are coming at RFID from a number of different angles. In July, he completed a discovery project in Paris, Texas, that tested different tags and readers against Campbells product mix—traditionally difficult material to read—and in August, kicked off an RFID implementation project. Campbell has also established an RFID lab to act as a staging ground for middleware.

With all that effort, Engle is still concerned with the basics.

"The fundamental thing were trying to do is figure out what works. Were trying to build a foundation before we go out and build the house," said Engle.

Check out eWEEK.coms Enterprise Applications Center at http://enterpriseapps.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion about productivity and business solutions.


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