European retailer set to upgrade RFID system

Metro Group to plug untried device into its RFID network to improve efficiency

Massive European retailer Metro Group intends to plug a relatively untried device into its already considerable radio frequency identification (RFID) network to improve efficiency in its inventory distribution and receiving operations.

Though with a lower profile than efforts at Wal-Mart Stores, Dusseldorf, Germany-based Metro Group is one of the largest and most high profile retailers to implement RFID technology to improve supply chain operations.

The company Tuesday announced plans to implement the Tag Acquisition Processor (TAP) device from Reva Systems, to better manage its distributed network of RFID devices.

The rack-mountable TAP device snaps into RFID based networks via an Ethernet or other network connection, and collects feeds from multiple RFID readers as though they were a single system, Metro said.

"With the Reva TAP solution, we are able to filter unwanted tag reads to ensure that only the wanted tags are reported to the business [applications] layer," said a Metro spokesman via e-mail. Previously, the company's RFID readers had difficulty distinguishing which tags had to be read for specific purposes. The TAP device allows readers to read only the tags it needs to, the spokesman said.

The spokesman said that the TAP system will be used at Metro store loading docks to confirm that goods have in fact been shipped or received. The retailer expects the TAP system to improve its inventory management systems and to ensure availability of hot-selling products.

The TAP system will go live at 200 Metro stores on Oct. 1 and will be expanded to the retail giant's remaining facilities over a period of several months, the spokesman said.

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