Target's passive tag tests not conclusive –
Major US retailer, Target, has been seriously exploring the use of passive
RFID to help secure the supply chain. The company believes that, over
the next two to five years, it will see a move from smart containers to
smart cargo in smart containers. Target has 1,313 stores, 22 distribution
centres and three import warehouses.
The company has been conducting experiments on the effectiveness of
the technology as part of its role as a charter member in Customs-Trade
Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT), a U.S. Customs and Border Protection
program launched after 9/11. Target worked with ADT Security Services
to tag cartons of goods and track them from a Manilla-based production
facility through the supply chain to a warehouse in the USA. The tests
have been used to evaluate the technology's ability to reduce theft,
to see if it was possible to identify loss quicker in the supply chain
Another aim was to create an electronic manifest, which is required by
U.S. Customs 24 hours before a ship bound for the United States leaves
a foreign port. Target also hoped to determine how RFID might improve
supply chain efficiency.
The company conducted the tests in comparison
with bar codes on the goods, with the tests was done in parallel with
its normal bar code tracking
systems. At this point, it is still too early to determine definitive
results, so the company will not fully integrated RFID into its operations
until it has more information from both this and future tests.