Technology Leaders Share Bright Ideas

Demand sensing, business intelligence solutions use data in a whole new light.


We will be able to provide customers with "port-to-door" visibility by creating an interface that shows all our different systems including WMS, TMS and brokerage.

With this capability, our clients can access a full spectrum of information from our system and then make decisions about the information they need.

Symens: Although RFID and global data sync are not new technologies, we have found that fewer than one-in-twelve vendors have implemented these critical enabling technologies. We expect by the end of 2008, more than two-thirds of vendors will be participating in a GDSN program. Primarily because at the most recent leadership meeting, Wal-Mart declared in 2008 "form 33" (the manual alternative to GDSN) should not be used and that all vendors must begin using the global data catalog 1Sync.

Wal-Mart is supporting this initiative with buyer education and a toll-free number for vendors to learn how to get started. This will create a momentum in the market among Wal-Mart's 27,000+ vendors. We expect other large retailers to join in the wave of productivity and establish, or recommit themselves, to similar initiatives.

What is your overall prediction for RFID?

Symens: Sadly, we do not expect any significant adoption of RFID among vendors until at least 2010. Although RFID technology has the potential for significant process improvement and cost savings at both the manufacturer and retailer, the implementation costs are too high and the changes in business processes can be very disruptive without a very strong and committed management team.

Making matters worse there are numerous horror stories about vendors rushing at great expense to comply with mandated retailer RFID programs, only to have the retailer delay the program. This has resulted in considerable skepticism among CEOs about making a large investment into RFID. As a result, RFID will remain an enabling technology implemented at only the largest vendors for the next several years, which overall means a low adoption rate.

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