Wal-Mart Case Study – Rfid and Supply Chain Management

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Technology is inevitable in every sphere of life today; it has always made things easier. Wal-Mart works on the same strategy, from the above description; we can understand how diversified Wal-Mart is and the volume of cargo it needs to handle for each of its business’s. Traditionally, it had started with computerization of individual stores with small billing machines and had then led to centralized billing for record keeping. The technology has grown by leaps and bounds and has become increasingly challenging to maintain large databases of information and maintain records. Powerful computers networked with high performance clusters maintain and store this data. This gives a picture as to how technology plays a vital role
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Data management layer provides some functionality of filtering of data due to intermittent appearances and disappearances. This can be achieved by setting some time threshold levels. For example you could tell the software to record tags as missing only after they have not been seen for a certain number of seconds. This is important because if the reader cannot read certain tags due to interference of certain objects, the software should not conclude that the tagged item is being sold or stolen. This mechanism would reduce false reads.

Device management is one of the most challenging part of RFID implementation. RFID readers interact with other devices such as motion sensors, programmable logic arrays and human interfaces. RFID readers operate in ISM (Industrial, Scientific and medical) bands at 13.56 megahertz, 915 megahertz and 2.45 megahertz. Because implementing RFID is an extensive ubiquitous task, there is a complication of different bandwidth standards around the world. For example, Japan has very different bandwidth standard than U.S.A. Security intrusion is also an issue in RFID deployment because RFID readers operate automatically unlike bar code scanners which are operated by humans.

Fig 2: Two Levels of Functionality [Source: Integrating RFID, Sanjay Sarma, Oatsystems and MIT, October 2004]

After the data management layer yields

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