Tesco has set itself a Christmas deadline to have its 30 distribution centres and a minimum of 800 stores RFID-enabled.
Group technology director John Clarke said an internal process was in place for a secure supply chain, tracking reusable trays containing high-shrinkage products costing more than £8 between its DCs and shops. Currently, Tesco has one DC and less than 20 stores with partial RFID capability, he added.
However, Tesco’s figures are cautiously understated. By the end of this year, it will have at least one RFID-enabled door at more than 2,000 stores in the UK and Ireland, and hopes to roll out RFID to Korea in 2006, said a source at a leading RFID technology provider.
The Tesco roll-out is largely at pallet-level. However, a successful item-level DVD pilot is likely to be extended into clothing and possibly consumer electronics. “If appropriate, we will roll out by category for certain products - but not all,” Clarke said. Tesco was also working on case and lorry tagging.
At this week’s GS1 UK EPC global RFID conference, Clarke urged suppliers to start working on RFID trials immediately. “This will be the biggest step change in retail in the next five to 10 years,” he told the conference.