Study Says Wal-Mart RFID is Working

Use of electronic product codes (EPCs) powered by RFID resulted in a 16% reduction in out-of-stocks, according to the study. Though it was funded by Wal-Mart, the company is at pains to explain that the University conducted it independently.

All Wal-Mart formats were included in the research: supercenters, discount stores and neighborhood markets. Out-of-stocks were analyzed at 12 pilots stores employing the technology and 12 control stores that didn’t have EPCs and RFID. Specific items that remained constant throughout the study were selected. While normal operations were maintained for the entire period, out-of-stocks were scanned each day at all 24 stores.

Results indicated that not only were out-of-stocks reduced by 16% but also the study found that out-of-stocks employing EPCs were replenished three times faster than comparable items that employ standard bar code technology.

“This is no longer a take-it-on-faith initiative,” says Linda Dillman, Wal-Mart’s executive vice president and CIO. “This study provides conclusive evidence that EPCs increase how often we put products in the hands of customers who want to buy them, making it a win for shoppers, suppliers and retailers.”

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