Suppliers will be told to tag all higher value goods ­ and they will have to foot the bill Sainsbury backs source tagging Sainsbury is preparing to lead a shake-up in UK supermarket labelling by adopting radio frequency source tagging as part of its supply chain revamp. Suppliers are likely to be told to tag all higher value goods from the point of production in a move to control stock loss and shrinkage. Sainsbury group security systems development manager Gerard Peters said: "Three big supermarket players in Europe ­ Carrefour, Intermache and Metro ­ have been very bold with source tagging technology. "Sainsbury leads the UK from the point of view of research into radio frequency labels, and we may decide the most efficient way to introduce the technology is to do it overnight later this year." He said it was likely suppliers would have to foot the bill for their costs in adopting the new system, but implementation would benefit them as much as Sainsbury as stock loss due to theft along the supply chain would be reduced and high value lines, such as alcohol and cosmetics could be merchandised more openly in store. Tags could later be migrated into third generation "smartchip" RF tags, which can carry information such as nutritional value Peters said Sainsbury's introduction of source tagging could be timed to follow a project to re-platform software at point of sale across the entire Sainsbury estate, scheduled for completion at the end of the year. Alternatively, tagging could be introduced in two years time, when Sainsbury has finished introducing a uniform barcode scanner in all stores. Stores currently use five different types of scanners. Peters said: "The question is, do we sit out for the next two years or invest straight away? It may be most efficient to do it immediately before we are put at a competitive disadvantage to European supermarkets and our UK rivals." Sainsbury trialled radio frequency labelling on crates at distribution centres two years ago, but did not proceed as it found costs of labelling at that stage of the supply chain were prohibitive. Marks and Spencer plans to have source tagging technology for chilled own-brand trays ready for implementation in store by the autumn. l See p18 {{NEWS }}