Dr. Gerd Wolfram, Managing Director at METRO Group Information Technology, and Co-Chair of EAP says, “EAP is working with retailers to ensure that they all work together and stamp out the possibility of proprietary systems springing up. Non-standard systems won’t be able to talk to each other and duplication would be required, so they would be the weak links in the chain jeopardising the benefits that we all hope to see. This would add massive costs to the supply chain, especially for the manufacturers. We call upon other retailers to get involved and help the Electronic Product Code (EPC) deliver to European business what has been promised.”
The adoption of the standards will promote competition as it allows adopters to buy different modules from different solution providers, therefore driving down prices and improving product functionality. It is beneficial to small and medium-sized companies supplying more than one retailer, as they will not have to bear the cost of supporting different retailer’s systems. This is especially important in Europe since there is no single, dominant retailer as there is in the US. In addition, the high volume of tagging for multiple customers will steer manufacturers away from ‘slap and ship’ practices, as there will be a stronger business case for them to invest and use RFID to improve their own business processes.
"Radio Barcodes could bring huge benefits to consumers such as better availability and faster movement of products, which will eventually reduce costs and bring lower prices. These benefits will only come about if retailers and manufacturers develop systems which talk to each other. Traditional bar codes posed similar challenges when they were introduced many years ago and now we take them for granted proving that co-operation among retailers gets results for consumers," says John Clarke, Group Technology Director, Tesco Stores Limited.
The ratification of Gen 2 has kick-started European implementation, as technology providers are now able to create products with increased performance and functionality.
The retailers will initially be rolling out RFID to their supply chains in selected countries only, with a wide range of product categories covered. In the first phase of the roll-out existing applications, such as EDI, will be used for data exchange.