Data Synch a Necessary First Step on the Road to RFID Adoption, Enabler Says

Retail sector must continue to drive data standards, item register, solution provider QRS asserts

Retail sector must continue to drive data standards, item register, solution provider QRS asserts

Richmond, CA — June 10, 2004 — In response to the growing interest in radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, retail solution provider QRS this week said it had identified data synchronization as a fundamental step that retail companies must take prior to broad RFID adoption.

QRS said that its findings were based on its 15-plus years of expertise delivering collaborative commerce solutions and were further supported by data collected at the company's recent annual customer conference.

To drive better customer and business interactions today, retailers must first focus on solving their data synchronization issues, QRS said. Retail companies must continue to drive implementation of data standards and item registry to take costs out of the supply chain, improve collaboration among trading partners and achieve the vision of a true Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN), according to the provider.

In a March 16 Forrester Research report titled "RFID: Icing On A Half-Baked Cake," Noha Tahomy wrote that companies that view RFID projects as the panacea for their lack of visibility will be disappointed with the outcome of their investments. Before any RFID deployment, companies must invest in data synchronization. Industries like hard-goods retailing are following in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry's footsteps in data synchronization, creating, maintaining and broadcasting product information to trading partners.

In a survey conducted at QRS Retail Connect in March 2004, more than half of the 34 retail company respondents said they are evaluating or considering RFID projects, but a surprising 86 percent said they have no budget allocated for such a project in 2004. In addition, a full 93 percent listed data synchronization as "important" or "very important" to their current business.

"This data implies that while RFID is on everyone's mind, the market is still 12 to 18 months away from seeing traction in RFID initiatives," said Liz Fetter, president and CEO of QRS. "Before the RFID vision of better matching supply to demand can be realized, retailers and suppliers must first complete basic data synchronization initiatives. Lack of quality product data, or worse yet, the presence of bad data, costs money and makes a successful RFID strategy impossible."

Fetter added that today retail manufacturers are faced with how to address data incompatibility problems while trying to move toward a shared vision of a GDSN. "While RFID has great potential and should be on the minds of retailer executives, they will be much better served by improving the quality of their product data first," she concluded.