Global Supplier Directory
Supplier Solutions
Whitepaper Library
Calendar of Events
Association Locator
Contents Pages
Market Research
Subscription Center

Daily News

Gillette Backs Off Plans to Include Tracking Device on Products
Aug 14, 2003
 Printable format
 Email this Article

Gillette has backed away from recent plans to use a controversial new technology that retailers hoped would prevent shoplifting and revolutionize stock control, according to a report from FT.com.

The personal care appliance maker had been the most enthusiastic supporter of the technology, which would involve planting a tiny computer chip in product packaging. By emitting a radio signal that carried a unique identifier, it would be possible to track every pack of the company's razor blades or batteries.

In January the company ordered 500m chips, known as radio frequency (RF) ID tags, to be delivered this year by Alien Technology, a California, U.S.-based technology firm.

Gillette denied it had abandoned an earlier plan to use the technology in individual products on store shelves, but a spokesman said the company did not expect RF ID tags to be used to monitor individual products in stores for at least 10 years.

The chips will instead be planted in pallets and cases so that batches of products can be tracked between the factory and the store, the company said.

Controversy surrounded complaints that the chips would infringe shoppers' privacy and could be used to track products even after they left stores.

One early test undertaken in Cambridge, England by UK retailer Tesco ignited protests last month after it emerged that the store was automatically photographing consumers as they took Gillette razors from the shelf. Customers were secretly photographed again when they left the store with the RF ID-tagged products.

Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, last month dropped a planned trial of similar "smart shelf" technology with Gillette razors. It said the decision reflected a change of strategy rather than privacy concerns.

The retailer switched its focus to back-room stock management, urging its main suppliers to consider using the chips to monitor the movement of pallets and cases of their products.

In a press release last January, Gillette said it would test RF ID technology in retail stores, adding: "If successful, up to half a billion tags could be placed on Gillette products over the next few years."

The tags would "alert retail staff when stocks become low or are being stolen and will enable automatic re-ordering of products," the company said at the time.

The cost of RF ID tags, which operate like invisible wireless barcodes, is not low enough yet to make it economic to put them in individual products like razors, a spokeswoman for Alien Technology said. (FT.com)

Back to Daily News


Daily News


Dec 22, 2014: Whirlpool headquarters improvements start a new phase

Dec 22, 2014: DOE's Building Technologies Office releases Roadmap for Emerging HVAC Technologies

Dec 22, 2014: Variable-speed circulation pump enables new Miele lab washers

Dec 22, 2014: The latest retail data breach: Staples

Dec 22, 2014: Consumer Spending Index is at its highest point of the year

More Daily News>>

RSS Feeds
Appliance Industry
Market Research


November 2014: Appliance Magazine Market Insight Annual Subscriptions
November 2014: U.S. Appliance Industry: Market Value, Life Expectancy & Replacement Picture 2014
October 2014: Portrait of the European Appliance Industry
September 2014: Appliance Industry Focus: HVAC

Contact Us | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | Home
UBM Canon © 2015  

Please visit these other UBM Canon sites

UBM Canon Corporate | Design News | Test & Measurement World | Packaging Digest | EDN | Qmed | Plastics Today | Powder Bulk Solids | Canon Trade Shows