Wal-Mart has signaled suppliers that they can implement EPC (Electronic Product Code) technology any time they wish.

Many Wal-Mart suppliers have been working toward a January 2005 deadline to implement the technology that involves RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags on pallets and some large items shipped to Wal-Mart. The retailer can then track those items automatically.
"They're ready; we're ready; there is no need to wait," said Carolyn Walton, Wal-Mart's Information Systems Division vice president responsible for EPC implementation. "I sometimes get the feeling that people think we are going to flip some gigantic switch on January 1st and tagged cases and pallets will appear from more than 100 suppliers.
"Instead, as we anticipated, suppliers are coming to us and asking to get into the game before the milestone happens," she continued. "We welcome their enthusiasm and participation."
Wal-Mart was the first major private sector enterprise to require the technology. Other companies have followed suit, as has the U.S. Defense Department and other government entities.
Carriers are not obligated to deploy the technology, at least not yet, but tagged freight will begin moving through many carrier systems. Carriers can read those tags for their own use if they care to.