Metro in talks with IT majors for software solutions

New Delhi | Updated: Nov 9 2004, 05:30am hrs
Global retail major Metro Group is in talks with IT majors Infosys, iGate and Wipro Technologies for outsourcing its retail software development solutions, Metro Group executive project manager Dr Gerd Wolfram told FE.

We are currently in preliminary talks with all these IT majors for software development projects, Dr Wolfram said. The software projects are likely to be in the areas of supply-chain management, inventory tracking or even point-of-sale management, Dr Wolfram said but refused to elaborate.

The retail major, which is present in the country as Metro Cash & Carry India, has already tied up with Bangalore-based iGate to develop its retail merchandising system since last year. Its our first off-shore project in collaboration with iGate, Dr Wolfram said.

The retail software market is currently driven by electronic product code (EPC) based Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. The technology enables a company to use real time data and improved data visibility and accuracy to transform their supply chains into adaptive business networks.

While in India, RFID is a relatively new concept, worldwide, global buyers including Metro, Walmart, Tesco have mandated their top 100 suppliers to affix EPC enabled RFID tags from January 1, 2005, and for all suppliers by 2006.

Metro Group in fact is the first retail company in the world to use RFID technology throughout the entire logistics process chain. We have rolled out the RFID launch in 20 stores in Germany and we are now planning to pilot test in China and foray it in other countries as well, Dr Wolfram said.

According to EPC Global India Ravi Mathur, providing EPC based RFID solutions has the potential to emerge as one of Indias largest IT exports.

In fact, IT majors including Wipro and Infosys have since last year announced their plans to enter the RFID market. While Wipro has launched its RFID-enabled concept store at its campus in Bangalore, Infosys, according to RFID journal, has US retailers JC Penny and Nordstrom among its existing customers.

RFIDs current annual market size is estimated to be about $964 million and according to IDC, it will grow to $1.3 billion in 2008.