Whats Wrong With RFID?
All the promises made for RFID technology may eventually come true, but it could take longer than you think.Beaver Street Fisheries is the prototypical manual-labor shop. Tons of clams, lobster, alligator, octopus and other exotica, from coastal waters in over 50 countrieshard-won catches of hard-edged fishermen and huntersroll in and out of the Jacksonville, Fla.-based companys distribution site every day, to be carried by trucks, planes and ships to customers around the world. Beaver Streets more than 400 workers orchestrate a huge and noisy assembly line producing pallets of individually wrapped items for retailers, such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and bulk shipments for restaurants. Until recently, very little about Beaver Streets operation gave off the slightest whiff of high technology. That changed last year, when Wal-Mart issued a much-publicized mandate requiring that by January 2005, its 100 biggest suppliers place radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags on most cases and pallets shipped to three of its Dallas-area warehouses. To find out how Wal-Marts RFID project in Texas is going so far, click here.
Beaver Street, with $500 million in annual sales, is hardly on Wal-Marts A-list, but that didnt stop CIO Howard Stockdale from trying to meet the retailers demand sooner rather than later. As he saw it, the mandate provided Beaver Street with a huge opportunity to cozy up to a customer with more shelf space and deeper pockets than anyone elseand to get there before the competition.