Walmart is revolutionizing the retail supply chain by introducing groundbreaking mandates for its suppliers, focusing on the implementation of RFID sensor tags in many of its products.
This innovative technology, already successfully implemented for Walmart’s apparel products, is now being required for other product lines such as automotive, electronics, entertainment, hardlines, home decor and more. By embracing this transformative change, Walmart aims to improve inventory accuracy and create a seamless shopping experience for its customers.
By leveraging RFID tags, Walmart will have the power to monitor product location in real-time, resulting in an improvement to inventory accuracy. RFID offers a multitude of benefits, encompassing instant visibility into inventory, cutting-edge business analytics, and an elevated level of customer satisfaction. Experts anticipate a widespread adoption of this technology in the retail industry, with Walmart’s mandate serving as a catalyst. Additionally, RFID seamlessly integrates with consumer-facing software, offering unparalleled transparency and an abundance of product information.
Here is what you need to know about the new RFID Mandates:
It is the supplier’s responsibility to select an RFID tag for each product, encode the tag, and place it on the product packaging or hangtag. First start by selecting an ARC-approved inlay. Refer to the Auburn University Guidelines to find out which inlay is right for you.
Once you have decided on an RFID tag with an approved inlay, the tag will need to be encoded for use. This crucial step ensures that each RFID tag contains the necessary information to track and identify the product accurately.
For the encoding process, suppliers have two options to choose from, depending on their specific needs and preferences.
The first option is to utilize packaging providers or service bureaus to manage the encoding of your product’s RFID tags. These professionals have the expertise and resources to handle the encoding process efficiently. They can use your Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) or Universal Product Code (UPC) to ensure that each RFID tag has a unique serial number through their cloud-based systems. This option is particularly advantageous for suppliers with multiple manufacturers or sites, as the service bureaus can assist in tag selection, placement, and approval. Additionally, they offer custom packaging services and other RFID solutions to meet your individual requirements.
The second option is to opt for an in-house solution, where you can purchase RFID labels or hangtags in bulk and encode your own serialized data using an RFID printer. This alternative is perfect for suppliers who prefer to have more control over the encoding process, as it allows for on-demand printing. By having an RFID printer in-house, you can encode the tags as needed, rather than relying on pre-encoded labels from a service bureau. This flexibility ensures that you can efficiently manage your inventory and respond to changes in real-time.
Regardless of the option you choose, it is essential to ensure that the UPC and the unique serial number are encoded accurately in the chip of each RFID tag. This encoding process guarantees that the RFID tags can be read and tracked seamlessly throughout the supply chain, enhancing inventory accuracy and improving the overall shopping experience for customers.
By carefully considering your encoding options and selecting the method that aligns with your business needs, you can successfully implement RFID technology into your product tags and contribute to Walmart’s mission of revolutionizing the retail supply chain.
Tag Placement Requirements:
- RFID tags must be easily removable by the customer. If the tags are sewn in, they should be designed to be easily torn off without any hassle.
- RFID tags or inlays should not cover any important text or images on the product packaging. It is essential to ensure that all relevant information on the packaging remains visible and legible.
- Avoid placing RFID inlays on the bottom of polybags or boxed items. This placement can interfere with the readability of the tags and hinder accurate inventory tracking.
- The RFID tags should not overlap with any EAS (Electronic Article Surveillance) tags that may be present on the products. These two technologies should be placed separately to ensure they function optimally without any interference.
- If an item requires a sticker indicating its country of origin, make sure it remains visible to the customer. If necessary, the supplier can print the country of origin information on the RFID sticker itself.
- Avoid making any staples, perforations, swift tach, folding, or die cuts through the RFID inlays. These actions can render the RFID tags unreadable and compromise the accuracy of inventory tracking.
- RFID inlay stickers should ideally be placed on the packaging of the product. However, if the stickers can be easily removed, they can be directly applied to the item itself.