CHICAGO--Sept. 15, 2003-- IBM today announced a comprehensive new service to help retailers and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies harness radio frequency identification (RFID) technology for advanced product tracking and inventory control.
IBM made the announcement at the Electronic Product Code Symposium here, where the company conducted live demonstrations of pallets and computer read-outs that show how goods move through -- and are automatically tracked by -- the RFID system, and how payments and inventory are expedited.
IBM's offering, which comprises consulting and implementation services as well as specialized software, gives companies a phased approach to RFID. The IBM offering is based on open standards and leverages existing technology investments by linking with the retailer's existing back-end inventory system. It is based on Websphere Business Integration running on WebSphere Application Server, DB2 Information Integrator, Tivoli Access Manager, and WebSphere Portal Server.
Phase I includes consulting and development of the business case for RFID,
Phase II is a 12-week pilot, and in Phase III, IBM provides the full roll-out of the system.
"Kimberly-Clark has been a leader in the AutoID movement from the outset and we want to work with partners that have the same level of commitment and experience in AutoID. We are finding that in IBM," said Mike O'Shea, Director, Corporate AutoID/RFID Strategies & Technology at Kimberly-Clark Corporation.
"IBM is helping us develop an end-to-end assessment of the specific costs and benefits in adopting AutoID technology for our products and business processes. Part of this work includes the integration of one of our key customers into the analysis to get a real view of not only how AutoID drives value for Kimberly-Clark but also how it impacts our customers and, ultimately, the consumer. This value assessment is serving as the foundation for further activities by allowing us to prioritize our investments on those areas that will drive the most value to Kimberly-Clark, our trading partners and, most importantly, the consumer. Throughout this process, IBM is bringing a deep level of expertise, experience and commitment to AutoID in a unique blend of business consulting and technology expertise that is providing real value to Kimberly-Clark."
It is estimated that the retail industry could cut theft as well as reduce inventory levels by 25 percent, saving billions of dollars annually by tagging products and using computers to automatically trace them from the warehouse through shipping and to store shelves. In June, executives at Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, called for their top 100 suppliers to implement an RFID system at the case and pallet level by 2005. More recently this was extended to all their suppliers by 2006.
"IBM believes RFID's time has come," said Faye Holland, worldwide RFID leader, IBM Global Services. "As our retail and CPG customers see the dramatic benefits this technology brings in cost reduction, improved customer service and streamlined operations, the demand is escalating for RFID expertise, and IBM -- with its Business Partners -- is perfectly aligned to deliver the most comprehensive RFID solution in the marketplace."
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