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How Wal-Mart May Kill the Bar Code

A good article from Sunday’s Dallas Morning-News (free registration required) on Wal-Mart’s RFID initiative.

An early proponent was Wal-Mart vice chairman Tom Coughlin, who had read Intel Corp. co-founder Andy Grove’s book Only the Paranoid Survive and felt that RFID would be what the author described as a “strategic inflection point” – a change that ultimately separates successful companies from failures.

Under late founder Sam Walton’s direction, Wal-Mart rose to power by developing some of the most sophisticated inventory-tracking technology in the retail industry. The retailer drove prices down, in part, by knowing more about what it owned than competitors did. To Ms. Dillman, RFID is just part of that tradition. “Some company cultures don’t allow people to experiment,” she said. “We’re not afraid to test things.”

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