Macy's moves RFID beyond the supply chain

Radio frequency identification, or RFID, was once seen as the future of supply chain efficiency, but these days it seems RFID's real value may be found in the storefront and not in the back room.

"When we look back, it almost seems silly that we started it as a supply chain tool," said Bill Hardgrave, the new dean of Auburn University's College of Business who once led research for Walmart and other retailers foray into RFID some 10 years ago.

Many retailers' distribution operations were already plenty efficient, he told Fortune in a recent article.

In 2009, Macy's saw the value in using the technology at retail locations, which resembles a barcode but works wirelessly and with more metadata. And with the rise of mobile devices and mobile commerce, RFID is more important to the store than ever.

"Knowing its customers will stand inside a Macy's store and comparison shop, the company is making sure that what its website says is in the store is actually in the store," says Fortune.

This month the company will begin asking more retailers to ship items pre-tagged with RFID with the goal of having half of all Macy's replenishment vendors sending RFID-tagged merchandise by the end of the summer.

For more:
- read the Fortune article

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