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Wal-Mart Ups RFID Technology

1 May, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., a leader in cost-benefit analysis, May 1 announced it would expand radio-frequency identification (RFID) to an additional 400 stores by the end of the fiscal year.

Similar to a barcode or magnetic strip on the back of a credit card or ATM card, RFID provides a unique identifier for a product with one big advantage: A product can be scanned indirectly up to 20 feet away, which retailers such as Wal-Mart see as a way to reduce overhead costs.

Speaking this week at a RFID conference, Wal-Mart EVP and CIO Rollin Ford said the technology would reduce by 30% excess inventory, better track movie DVDs and music CDs, locate pallets more easily and reduce customer checkout times to less than 30 seconds.

“On a daily basis, more than 24 million people shop our stores,” said Ford. “If 100,000 extra trips are avoided by having items in stock, we will save customers $22.8 million a year in gas savings and reduce greenhouse gases by 89,209 metric tons.”

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