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RFID Is Not All or Nothing

Companies in almost every industry are using specific RFID applications to achieve real business benefits today.
By Mark Roberti
Aug 13, 2007Some analysts and consultants advise companies not facing mandates that they don't need to consider radio frequency identification technology. I also know of several companies that, in the absence of an industry mandate, view the technology as not being of interest to them. And, of course, some companies required to tag goods are doing as little as possible to comply (see Don't Ignore the Benefits of RFID).

There's a belief, it seems, that RFID will eventually transform the supply chains of some industries and not others, and that if you aren't in the latter category, you can get by just sitting on the sidelines. Some also believe that even if you are in one of those industries, you can wait until adoption really ramps up before integrating RFID into your operations.


I'm sorry, but the idea that you should deploy or not deploy based on whether you're facing a mandate—or whether RFID is going to transform your entire supply chain—is a mistake. RFID may or may not eventually be used on every shipment in some industries, but it is a technology that can be used for specific applications to achieve real business benefits today—in almost any industry.

EPC Connection 2007, a Chicago-based conference and exhibition RFID Journal is producing with EPCglobal North America on Oct. 2-4, will focus on how companies are using Electronic Product Code technologies and standards to achieve real benefits today. Case studies will be presented by numerous companies facing mandates, as well as others that are not. Some are achieving benefits with targeted applications involving supply-chain partners, while some are achieving internal benefits and others are gaining in both ways.

Shaw Industries, a maker of carpets and rugs, will explain how it is using Electronic Product Code tags to track carpets moving from its production facility to its warehouses, and how this is helping drive down the hidden costs of logistics. Several companies, such as Northrop-Grumman and John Deere, are using RFID to track work-in-process. Others, such as Handleman, a distributor of enetertainment CDs and DVDs, and Megatrux, a third-party logistics provider, are employing the technology to provide better services to their customers (these companies are also speaking at EPC Connection).

The point is, there are few companies in any industry that couldn't benefit from using RFID in some way today. Do you have assets that could be better utilized? Business processes you'd like to automate? Work-in-process you'd like to track? Areas you'd like to secure?

If the answer to any one of these questions is "yes," I invite you to join us at EPC Connection 2007 to see how companies like yours are successfully utilizing RFID technologies today, and how the standards EPCglobal is creating can drive value both internally and across the supply chain.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below.
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