NEW YORK - Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the
world's largest retailer, is requiring all of its top 100 suppliers
to have "smart tags" for better inventory tracking on their pallet
shipments by early 2005.
Through radio frequency identification, or RFID, technology,
Wal-Mart expects it will be able to "track, control and move
inventory even more efficiently," said spokesman Tom Williams.
He said the retailer plans to work with suppliers to see what
type and how much information should be on the smart chip. Wal-Mart
announced its intent at a technology conference in Chicago earlier
Unlike bar codes, which have to be read manually by laser or
image readers, the tags emit radio signals that are picked up by
warehouse readers, which transmit the data to a computer system. The
U.S. military and several smaller retailers have already adopted the
Wal-Mart has not announced its technology partners.