RFID will not banish out of stocks overnight, but will play a critical role in tackling shrinkage and improving on-shelf availability, according to Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy.
Speaking exclusively to The Grocer at a briefing in Brussels to publicise the forthcoming
ECR Europe conference, Sir Terry said: “Problems in the supply chain are tackled by management, by people, not technology. However, RFID gives us far better information and more visibility.”
Although some suppliers were concerned about the cost implications, there was a clear business case for suppliers, he added. “Gillette used to be like this. It needed to be persuaded. Now it is a firm advocate of the technology. I am pretty confident the benefits to individual suppliers will be such that they will be keen to pursue this.”
Consumer groups’ concerns about privacy issues arising from RFID were misplaced, he added. “RFID tags products, not people. But some people have gone straight into a science fiction world. They have really got to come back into the real world.”
He added that it was too early to predict when the price of tags would fall to a level where item level tagging would be realistic.
At the same briefing, Coca-Cola VP Greater Europe Bob Wilkinson said there was a very productive dialogue with retailers over RFID, and he added that Coca-Cola was looking at the business case.
Elaine Watson