Radio barcode is a form of passive RFID tagging. Tesco will store only a barcode-style identification number on each tag – much less information than RFID tags are able to store – because this drives down the cost per tag.
‘We are aiming for the industry standard of five cents per tag, and storing only unique item numbers enables the cost per tag to be driven down,’ said Colin Cobain, group IT director at Tesco.
Due to be completed by Christmas, the rollout will see radio barcode tags placed on totes (individual shelves) and dollies (the wheel base) used to store and transfer stock around the retailer’s warehouses.
Initially only high-value items such as computer accessories, razor blades and cameras will be tagged, but Tesco believes the technology will reduce operating costs by minimising shrinkage, as well as improving stock accuracy and availability.
Cobain said Tesco is also trialling tagging of individual DVDs and CDs in its Sandhurst and Leicester stores.
The firm would not reveal its tag and hardware supplier, but said that RFID company OAT Systems will provide the software to enable it to capture tag information, add context and control the system.
‘The industry standard for RFID is already in place and other businesses should be implementing similar technology too, looking at where it works rather than where it doesn’t,’ said Cobain.
‘It’s likely we may be asking suppliers to tag products in the future.’
Hewlett Packard has also announced this week that it aims to encourage deployment of RFID technology in working environments, through partnerships with OAT Systems and systems integrator BearingPoint.
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