It doesn’t seem that long ago when then Wal-Mart CIO, Linda Dillman, issued a mandate for all vendors to use RFID technology. The year was 2003, and the plan was to have Wal-Mart’s top 100 vendors using RFID tags on all their products by 2005. For multiple reasons, the plan fizzled, Dillman was reassigned, and RFID was put on the back burner for Wal-Mart and the retail industry at large.
It has been a long time coming for RFID. 11 years, 11 months, and 4 days later, news broke that perhaps the pie in the sky vision of Dillman would finally be realized in a big way. Keri Jones (Executive Vice President, Global Supply Chain and Operations), handed down the news, detailing a plan that she predicts to be “one of the largest RFID projects in retail”. The plan is to have RFID in all 1,795 Target stores in the US by 2016. Target will join Macys as the next major retail operation embracing RFID technology.
Perhaps at first glance, this seems like another gaudy plan from a corporate executive. But, Target has deep investments in RFID, and has done testing for some time now. Target is a major sponsor of one of the top collegiate institutions on RFID at Auburn University. With $1 billion in investments into their supply chain infrastructure, Target definitely seems poised to take advantage of RFID.
Time will tell to see just how Target will really implement RFID and how much they’ll wield the auto-ID technology. One thing is for sure – the entire auto-ID industry will be following Target’s developments with great interest.