RFID Talk Blog

What happened to RFID and CPG?

Supply Chain Digest’s Dan Gilmore ran a very insightful piece on the plight of RFID in the CPG space last week. Gilmore traced the euphoria surrounding CPG and EPC tagging that started in earnest back in 2003. While there were very successful pilots run by the likes of Gillette and P&G at major retailers like CVS and Walgreens — mostly geared around the tagging of promotional and sale items at point-of-sale islands — the real value of RFID in the CPG to retail value chain has not been realized.

Granted, the industry benefitted greatly from the CPG false start; according to the article, more than $1 billion was invested in RFID technology from the early Walmart initiatives, and clearly the item level tagging in apparel that is on its way to becoming ubiquitous would not be at the level it is today without the CPG trails.

From the SCD story:

While RFID progresses and even thrives in other segments, in the CPG to retail value chain EPC tagging is simply stopped in its tracks. WalMart is doing nothing there, now focused on apparel programs. A P&G spokesperson told me this week that as far as he knows, Procter & Gamble has no active RFID projects or pilots currently underway – this from a company that was leading the charge not that many years ago, and had at one point I believe at least 20 people working on RFID. P&G, as just one example, developed what became the industry standard requirements document for RFID-capable fork trucks. Even the UK’s Tesco stores and Germany’s Metro chain, which continued ahead after WalMart had clearly started to bail, have done nothing new for about three years.

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