The $81 billion European retail chain Metro Group is moving ahead with its Asian RFID supplier program, promoting a kick-off program May 23 for 30 partners at the Hong Kong Science & Technology Park.
The "Tag It Easy" pilot is officially part of an initiative that Metro is calling Advanced Logistics Asia, or ALA, which helps consumer goods manufacturers to apply radio-frequency identification labels on shipments from Hong Kong to Germany.
According to Metro Group, most of its Asian suppliers have limited technology capabilities at their production sites and require assistance in printing RFID labels for their export packages. A new partnership with Checkpoint Systems will let these suppliers to place label order requests and receive pre-printed labels.
The retailer—with about 270,000 employees running roughly 2,400 stores in 30 countries under brands including Metro/Makro Cash & Carry, Galeria Kaufhof, Real hypermarkets, Extra supermarkets, Media Markt and Saturn—has standardized on UHF EPC Gen 2 tags for compliance to all regional requirements: 917 - 922 MHz for China; 920 - 925 MHz for Hong Kong; and 865.6 - 867.6 MHz for Europe.
The RFID tags on the labels provided by Checkpoint will store the SSCC (Serial Shipping Container Code), which will be read at several points along the supply chain from Hong Kong to Unna, Germany, Metro officials said. The Metro Group will receive an electronic delivery note in advance of the shipment, detailing the container content.
Metro Group officials noted that suppliers benefit by gaining detailed proof that packages have been delivered.
The pilot is slated to run for three months and the Metro Group said it would extend the project to include more Asian suppliers if the concept proves to be feasible.
Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on technologys impact on retail.