Practical RFID achieved in a short time, to create new business models and improve efficiency

TokyoSAP Japan Co., Ltd. announced today that Japan’s first commercial RFID (wireless IC tag) project started operation on May 30 at Yodobashi Camera’s logistics center.

In this RFID project, which involves the process of shipment from suppliers, Yodobashi Camera utilized SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure (SAP AII), an RFID product in the mySAP SCM package. SAP AII supports Electronic Product Code (EPC) specifications, which are being progressively unified worldwide, as a standard capability. This was Japan’s first collaborative development of EPC in commercial logistics. The revolutionary goal of using EPC data management – a feature of RFID – in actual business was accomplished when the project started operation.

By starting up this RFID system with SAP AII as its core, Yodobashi Camera aims to proceed with further system automation, as well as improving the efficiency of its business processes and optimizing them. The scope of application of the system is as follows:

  • Reducing the manpower requirements and improving the accuracy of shipment inspection
  • Establishing new shipment processes at suppliers
  • Automating and increasing the autonomy of business processes, including inventory management and supplier management

Yodobashi Camera has been evaluating SAP products and designing the system in outline since the second half of 2005. Taking into account reduction of load on the large-scale mySAP ERP package already installed and the frontline processing system, Yodobashi Camera has proceeded with integration of SAP AII and mySAP ERP on the SAP NetWeaver platform, which forms the system infrastructure. SAP AII and mySAP ERP are integrated using XI (Exchange Infrastructure), which integrates process coordination between applications, and EPC data is managed using SAP AII in centralized fashion via readers. This RFID project embodies Yodobashi Camera’s concept of designing and developing a flexible system that helps implement speedy changes in business processes, based on Enterprise SOA (Service Oriented Architecture). Accordingly, it was possible to introduce the RFID system without major impact on the current system environment, including the large-scale ERP package.

The RFID system construction project began at the end of 2005, and became operational in less than six months. One reason the project was completed so quickly was that a small number of carefully selected staffs from SAP Japan’s consulting and customer support divisions, as well as SAP AG, worked with staff at Yodobashi Camera, functioning organically as a single team to move the project forward.

Yodobashi Camera plans to utilize the RFID system as one means of implementing its business strategy in terms of the supply chain, and to develop the system to encompass a broad range of processes.