Money from RFID
IBMs retail customers have been recognizing, however, that their product suppliers will be more compliant if they can see ways of making money from RFID, Druker said. In response, IBM has started working with retailers and their suppliers to show how they can leverage RFID in conjunction with GDS to get ROI (return on investment). This task hasnt been as tough as it might otherwise seem, since at many distributorships, the same person is in charge of both GDS and RFID implementations. Moreover, many GDS implementations have been up and running for a couple of years now, he said. A new study finds a gap between companies supply-chain tech and their business strategies. Click here to read more.Not surprisingly, in the interview this week, Druker pointed to possible expansions into automotive and health. Faced with new tire retread regulations, for example, players in the automotive industry could put together databases containing information about where various tires are manufactured, along with failure analyses, he said. "The same type of technology could be applied to saving lives," Druker said. "Giving the wrong [pharmaceutical] product to the wrong patient is one of the largest causes of death in the world." To read a column on how medical RFID could help save lives, click here. Meanwhile, some IBM customers, concerned over changes in U.S. customs regulations, have started to put together PIM-based databases for keeping track of the details on overseas trading partners, he said. Other IBM users are augmenting GDS with Web-based portals that also use PIM. A product distributor, for example, might offer most product information through a GDS data pool, while relying on a portal only for running custom data that is specific to particular retailers. PIM-based portals are also being set up to ease communications with smaller partners that dont yet have the resources for dealing with the large data pools. "Even if youre a small producer of lettuce, and your operations arent computerized yet, you can always take a trip to your local library once a week and access your partners portal from the Web," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news and analysis of enterprise supply chains.
Even before the buyout, Trigo Product Center had already made substantial headway with users in the retail/consumer packaged goods space. At the time of the acquisition, some analysts pointed to future expansion of the PIM technology into other vertical industries targeted by IBM, including computers and electronics.