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Wal-Mart to Use RFIDs to Track its Fleet

May 24, 2005

BENTONVILLE, AR – Wal-Mart will be using radio frequency identification (RFID) for asset tracking of trucks, forklifts, and mobile devices, according to the Telematics Journal.“We will be using RFID in the future to track our mobile assets," Wal-Mart’s CIO, Linda Dillman told Telematics Journal on May 20. Wal-Mart owns a fleet of trucks that move goods across country, between distribution centers and to stores. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is the largest retailer and biggest employer in the U.S. and ranks number one on the Fortune 500 list. Dillman says RFID technology is a near-perfect locator tool, citing the results of the retailer’s trials in three distribution centers, and 150 stores and clubs in Dallas. She says more than 100 suppliers are shipping tagged items routinely. “We’ve had good results in our process changes (from the trials)," says Dillman. “We already use low-power RFID chips that ‘wake-up’ periodically to measure temperature exposures of perishable goods in trucks, and, of course, to track all categories of merchandise in route. So, we pretty much know where the trucks are as well," she said in the Telematics Journal article. Dillman says Wal-Mart will expand its RFID program to track its mobile assets in greater detail. "It is not RFID versus the traditional fleet management systems that use cellular and satellite communications," says ABI Research analyst David Schrier in the Telematics Journal article. "RFID's role is to complement traditional systems by adding greater functionality. This includes adding streamlined gate access, improved driver authentication, and RFID-based sensors that can contribute to an enhanced visibility of goods in the supply chain. In fixed environments, like a container or trailer yard, active RFID tags can provide the sole solution for tracking assets like forklifts," he added.
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