Wal-Mart To RFID Crack Down On Chinese Suppliers By January

Wal-Mart will insist that its Chinese suppliers comply with RFID tagging by January 2009. And given various recent safety problems reported from China, Wal-Mart is also requiring sub-contractor information be included with every tagged product. The move, according to this nicely detailed piece in RFID News, "is expected to cost the suppliers roughly 20 times more than the bar-coding system now in place." But China Retail News is quoting Chen Chang'an, general manager for the Shenzhen-based RFID provider Invengo Information Technology, as saying that the move will save Wal-Mart some $8.35 billion. No problem, given that Bentonville always passes such savings along to suppliers, right?

That China Retail News story also quotes Wal-Mart VP Mike Duke confirming that Wal-Mart would "not only ask its Chinese suppliers to report the name and factory location of their products, but also require them to take the responsibility for their subcontractors' work and products. Suppliers who failed to meet these standards would be dropped from Wal-Mart's Chinese supply chain if no improvements were made. He said the new standards would be put into effect in the apparel sector from November 2008 and gradually cover all products in its stores."