Special sensors can be used to monitor product movement, expiry dates, demand

The RFID revolution – the placement of sensors at every stage of the supply chain – is expected to be realized in about a decade, between 2010 and 2015. In the immediate future, RFID labels will be placed on cartons to facilitate the monitoring of product movement from warehouse to supermarket shelves. According to the e-business form’s Z2 working group at the Development Ministry, products will have a RFID label embedded in them to enable the pinpointing of their precise position and condition, providing complete transparency from production point to consumer point. A Development Ministry survey offers a list of the main areas of Radio Frequency Identification implementation in the supply chain. – Businesses will be able to monitor products entering and leaving the warehouse, as well as the products’ shelf life. – Once they know the content of customers’ shopping carts, vendors will be able to provide further information on the products via advertising and make individually targeted special offers. – They will also be able to reduce the price of a product as the expiry date approaches. Greece is seeking a role in the development of the technology through two research programs by the E-Commerce Research Center in the Department of Administrative Science and Technology at the Athens University of Economics and Business. They concern fresh fish and frozen food products. Dr Katerina Pramatari, a member of the research team, told Kathimerini that in the first phase, automatic recognition labels will be used on crates. «We estimate that they will be placed on every product during the 2010-2015 period,» he said. In response to criticism that the method will permit the monitoring of consumer habits, Pramatari said that, according to the new specifications set by the European Union, the labels will be deactivated on exit from the store. «The supermarket management knows what products the customer chooses, but consumer habits are not linked to consumer identity,» she pointed out.