Asda has revealed initial results of a Home Office sponsored trial on radio frequency identification technology conducted last year.
In the three-month project, the first trial anywhere of RFID at item level, more than 7,000 CDs from EMI were tracked through the supply chain to two Asda stores in Nottingham.
The tag technology was also used to track returns from consumers back to the manufacturer.
Asda trading loss prevention manager Kate DeFraja said the biggest potential benefit demonstrated by the trial was supply chain integrity, helping identify and reduce discrepancies over what suppliers invoiced and what it actually received.
She said: "The other big benefit will be the automatic updating of the inventory system as the product enters the back of the store. By using RFID readers that read multiple tags in a delivery, we can eliminate the need for manual scanning."
Asda conducted the trial in mid-2002 under the Home Office Chipping of Goods initiative. Full findings will be released by the Home Office in the autumn.
Initial findings were published this week in a report from new supply chain standards authority, the E-centre.
The E-centre is due to take over from academic industry body the Auto-ID Centre in the UK from September 16, managing RFID implementation once standards have been announced.
Stewart Dean, RFID executive at the E-centre, said Asda had "wanted to get its hands dirty" through the low-key trial on RFID. Parent Wal-Mart is conducting further development work on the technology.

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