Tesco has ditched its plan to roll out RFID to 1,400 stores and 30 distribution centres after technology problems forced a rethink.
It had originally planned to have RFID readers at all depots and on at least one door of every store across the country by last Christmas, following the start of the roll-out in early 2005.
However, the deadline was then revised to mid-2006 and Tesco said at the time that, despite issues with tag quality and poor read rates, it was confident it would meet the new timeline.
But earlier this year the deadline was again called into question after Tesco said problems with interference of tag reading at its depots was persisting (The Grocer, 28 January, p12). Tesco has now dropped its original strategy of &'secure supply chain&' in favour of &'unit of delivery&', which means it will track the journey of every returnable tray using a permanent tag instead of using disposable tags to track single deliveries of trays. A spokeswoman said that unlike secure supply chain, which was limited to the tagging of trays delivering high value goods such as razor blades and mobile phones, unit of delivery would be based on the tagging of all returnable transport items delivered to stores from DCs.
"Initially this will be cages and dollies, but in the future we will include all returnable items, therefore covering a much larger part of our business than secure supply chain," she added.
The new approach will initially be set up in one depot and 40 shops with a plan to roll it out further to all stores and depots over the next few years.
Earlier this month, Tesco began a trial with Robert Wiseman Dairies to track deliveries of bottles and cartons supplied to stores on roll cages.
Tesco has led the way for RFID users in the UK, with Marks and Spencer also taking a pioneering role.
Asda will begin RFID trials in the coming months as one of Wal-Mart&'s first trials outside the US. It will be followed by Sainsbury later in the year.