Source-tagging benefits analyzed

Manufacturers and big-name retailers like Wal-Mart, Kmart and The Home Depot convened to discuss source tagging benefits at the twice-yearly Source Tagging Council meeting on January 7 and 8.

The meeting, hosted by Kmart Corp., took place in Delray Beach, FL. Attendees agreed that source tagging, or the practice of placing security labels on a product at the manufacturing or packaging level to reduce pilferage, soon will be as commonplace as bar codes. "Source tagging is emerging rapidly just as the bar code did ten years ago," said Paula Hutchings, manager of operations control at Wal-Mart. "And just as the bar code became the industry standard, source tagging will become the industry standard as well." Wal-Mart is currently holding vendor workshops on a bi-monthly basis to implement its source-tagging program. The retailer panel discussed the "four factors of success": narrowing the focus to high-shrink products common to most retailers; sharing sales and shrink information with manufacturers; staying in contact with other members of the Source Tagging Council through meetings, the council's newsletter, Synergy and web sites; and involving senior merchants throughout the entire source-tagging program. "Vendor source-tagging is a win-win situation all around," said Ben Guffey, operations vice president of loss control for Kmart Corp. and co-chairman of the Source Tagging Council.

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