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Event Spotlights the Business Benefits of RFID

Last week's RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition revealed that more end users understand RFID's value and are moving forward with larger-scale projects.
By Mark Roberti
Apr 19, 2010It wasn't too long ago that many speakers at RFID JournalLIVE!, our annual conference and exhibition, talked about pilots or small rollouts. This year, many speakers described sophisticated projects that are delivering benefits in myriad ways. It was fitting that the event opened with a keynote address by Carlo Nizam, head of value chain visibility and RFID at Airbus. The airplane manufacturer has many RFID projects delivering value today and has plans for future projects—all integrated into a carefully thought-out enterprise approach to RFID that will deliver increasing value.

Nizam started out by explaining the need to continuously improve operations and reduce costs. "To improve a process, we need to understand what's working and what's not working: measurability," he told the audience. "But to actually measure something requires information, and that's what we call visibility. We can't improve what we can't measure, and we can't measure what we can't see or what we don't know. So visibility is the prerequisite for all process improvements and therefore a prerequisite for business savings."

Nizam said RFID enables quick wins by automating the collection of data, but it also provides the visibility that enables the company to change and improve processes. "The level of measurability actually determines the maximum level of savings," he said. "If you can only measure so much and see so much, you can only save so much. If you can increase what you can see and measure, you can increase what you can save. RFID is a very promising enabler to achieve that."

Nizam added that the ultimate goal is "real-time, automated, accurate visibility," and RFID is one of the key technologies enabling that. (To watch a video of Nizam's presentation, click here.)

Many other speakers described projects that, while not as extensive as Airbus' RFID program, were aimed at achieving benefits through the visibility and measurability that RFID provides. And many of the attendees understood RFID's potential to deliver significant benefits. Some came with photos of their facilities or items they wanted to track, and targeted specific exhibitors they thought could meet their needs.

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