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In Recognition of Excellence

The 2008 RFID Journal Award winners demonstrate what can be achieved by applying radio frequency identification to different business problems.
By Mark Roberti
Mar 17, 2008Happy St. Patrick's Day, folks. As someone who is half-Irish (my mother hails from Gurteen, in County Sligo), I can say with some confidence that you have to be lucky to succeed in business. But you also have to work hard and have a smart strategy and good partners. Our three end-user RFID Journal Award winners—and many of the other companies that submitted entries—certainly fit that description.

Airbus won the award for Best RFID Implementation, narrowly edging out the U.S. Department of Defense's AIT Office and Metro Group. Airbus wasn't trying to solve a specific business problem; rather, what gave the company an edge was its three-phase, enterprise-wide approach to using RFID to streamline business processes across its value chain.

Why deploy RFID across the entire value chain, from suppliers to airline customers, instead of focusing on internal benefits? Here's how Airbus put it in its award submission: "The reason for the value chain approach is Airbus sees the value chain as 'profits in motion.' These profits are not limited to any particular function but are spread all along [the value chain]; the same is true of costs. So we are focusing on the big picture in order to achieve big savings. A holistic and integrated approach is, therefore, the key to ensure end-to-end interoperability, not just within Airbus, but within the Airbus ecosystem as a whole, and to avoid a scattershot approach and instead focus on the top priorities of our customers—both internal and external."

The submission summarizes some of the benefits achieved in phase one, which focuses on supply-chain tracking, warehouse logistics and distribution. Since 2006, Airbus has saved millions of euros each year by cutting process cycle times, eliminating paperwork and reducing inventory. In phase two, Airbus will focus on global transportation (land, sea and air), manufacturing and assembly operations, while phase three will tackle in-service operations and maintenance.

The award for the Best Use of RFID to Enhance a Service goes to Agence Métropolitaine de Transport (AMT), which finished just ahead of Handleman Co., a distributor and merchandiser of DVDs. Handleman is using RFID to improve the replenishment process and increase sales for its customers.

The AMT provides daily bus service to 750,000 Montreal residents, and wanted to encourage the public to use buses rather than private vehicles, by making travel more convenient and comfortable. Increased use of the AMT would reduce bridge and road congestion, cut green house gasses and pollution, and make Montreal an even better place to live. The RFID system was designed to provide real-time information to bus riders, allow supervisors to react quickly to accidents, traffic jams and other obstacles that disrupt service, and enable detailed cumulative reports to improve the management of routes and personnel.

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