Wal-Mart has said that it plans to bring another 500 stores online in its RFID (radio frequency identification) initiative by the end of the fiscal year, bringing the total number of retail locations using RFID technology to more than 1,000.

“Recent internal analysis of our ongoing efforts, along with the launch of EPCglobal Generation 2 tags, reinforces the value of this technology for Wal-Mart, our suppliers and ultimately our customers,” said Rollin Ford, executive vice president and chief information officer for Wal-Mart.  “We’re aggressively moving forward with the expansion of RFID-enabled facilities.”

The company is using RFID technology to reduce out-of-stock and excess inventory. 

“We believe this technology, when coupled with new work processes, will deliver even more benefits than we are currently receiving,” Ford said. “We are actively engaged in designing some new initiatives that will accelerate our program even further and, in so doing, create even more value for everyone involved. We’ll announce those initiatives as we roll them out.”

Ford said that the initiative will be expanded as Wal-Mart continues to work with its next 300 largest suppliers, which are expected to begin shipping test cases in October.  These suppliers will go live with their shipments in January 2007, bringing the number of supplier companies participating in the scheme to more than 600.

“We continue to work with suppliers to help them see the vast potential of RFID,” said Ford. “We’re already fully convinced of its value and are ready to step up the pace since we know we are only touching the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of this technology.”