Tesco’s timetable for RFID is understood to have slipped substantially, with the first wave of suppliers unlikely to start labelling cases for Tesco RDCs until well into next year.
Speaking at Tesco’s interim results this week, Tesco finance director Andrew Higginson said: “We are at least a year away from the big push,” and blamed “issues over standards”.
According to Tesco’s original timetable, which is still displayed on its website, the rollout of case level radio barcoding is scheduled to begin this month with the first wave of suppliers.
However, this could be
delayed for several months as Tesco is unable to find readers that work, said sources close to the company.
“The readers are the biggest problem. They have published a spec but they have to comply with the European standards and read the new class one, version two tags that will become standard - at decent read rates.” Suppliers, meanwhile, have not been given clear instructions on which categories will be in the first wave and what is expected of them, when.
Deloitte head of European consumer business Lawrence Hutter said: “Most standards are there but there is no large scale production of class one, version two tags yet, and that is what Tesco and co want to go with.
“The other issue for suppliers is lack of scale.
“Obviously, the hope is that when more retailers begin to introduce RFID, they start with the same categories as Tesco so that suppliers are able to gain some critical mass.”
Elaine Watson