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THE END-CUSTOMER’S PERCEPTION ABOUT THE ELECTRONIC PRODUCT CODE (EPC) AT A RETAILER

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Abstract

The concept involves an active or more likely passive RFID data tag that stores information on the product that can easily be retrieved by a reader system. Therefore entities in the supply can identify a pallet, a case and increasingly, as the prices of the tag drop even individual products. The consequence will be that the supply chain will become more transparent, since products can be tracked individually. If a product disappears for any reason or is misrouted, the discrepancy can be located immediately.1 Heavy loss generated by theft and poor planning can be minimized and wholesalers can offer their products with a much better service. Over the last twenty years the barcode has been indicating the characteristics of a consumer products’ specific category. This has been sufficient for many years, but since markets are more dynamic than ever before companies have to adapt quickly to the changing environment. Therefore the Electronic Product Code (EPC), which will be first introduced in 2008, will definitely change the existing business habits and procedures from the ground. According to the consumer industry and their objectives, inefficiencies in the supply chain will be removed and costs can be decreased, which will finally benefit the end-customer. However on the other hand, there are a number of concerns the consumer industry as well as the end-customer needs to face: the EPC-technology requires a new infrastructure and organization that will cause huge expenses into the logistic.2 Regarding privacy issues many consumers reject the new technology so far and companies will have a hard job on convincing them of the great overall value. As trends in the industry have shown, the EPC technology will have an enormous impact on mass products and on a variety of items. The end customers’ acceptance of the Electronic Product Code will become essential, whether all the efforts done in the research and development will finally pay off. This paper presents the results of an exploratory study about the consumers’ perception regarding the EPC-technology and how it could affect their purchase habits; the study focused on consumers of a specific supermarket chain (HEB in Monterrey, Mexico) I will thanks to the master students for your collaboration in this empirical study . An already existing research study about the US end-customer perception regarding the EPC technology was conducted by Capgemini in October 2003 and served as an outline for this project in order to better compare the final results.

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