From Purchasing b2b: One thing is for certain, RFID has been talked about enoughâ€”in the media, at trade shows and industry conferences. Like a parachute jumper receiving endless instruction in the plane, there comes a time when you just have to jump.
Staples Business Depot is already in the air. Together with its supply chain partners, this retailer of office equipment and supplies has embarked on a unique RFID pilot project.
Expected to go live by the first quarter of next year, the pilot will see Staples suppliers apply RFID labels to pallets, cases, even individual items.
“Staples wants to learn how RFID will impact our business,” says Joe Soares, director of retail process for Staples. “RFID has the potential to make many of our common practices easier and quicker, by reducing the amount of times we handle product before putting it on our shelves.”
The team will use the Electronic Product Code (EPC) Gen2 standard, which is the globally-approved standard for RFID. Right now, the standard is being reviewed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), but it’s expected to receive the stamp of approval soon.
PricewaterhouseCoopers is coordinating the project, while Bell Canada is providing the wireless network. Falling in are other members of the SCN, including Unisource, UPS Supply Chain Solutions, ACCO Canada Inc., Fellowes Canada and Western Inventory Service.
These members and industry at large are hoping the pilot will demonstrate RFID’s promised resultsâ€”better inventory visibility, and happier customers.
“We see this initiative as having a benefit to our vendors,” Soares said. “With improved accuracy in receiving product, we’ll have less issues with receiving errors, payments and claims to our vendors. We’ll have more timely deliveries, and ultimately faster turnaround for product from vendor to shelf.”