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AMR: Boeing's RFID Push is a Catalyst

AMR Research has released an analysis of Boeing's recent announcement that it would RFID tag certain parts of its 787 Dreamliner aircraft. This article recaps the key points.
Oct 25, 2005This article was originally published by RFID Update.

October 25, 2005—AMR Research last week released an analysis of Boeing's recent announcement that it would RFID tag certain "maintenance-significant" parts of its planned 787 Dreamliner aircraft, slated for 2008 production delivery. Entitled RFIDentifying a Way To Make a Better Airplane, the report indicates that Boeing's initiative will affect hundreds of the airplane manufacturer's suppliers, and may even trickle down to sub-suppliers.

There are a number of significant aspects to this announcement, according to AMR. First, Boeing's technical requirements for the tags used by suppliers are demanding: they must be passive, high-storage, metal-mountable, robust, and tested for changes in pressure, temperature, humidity. Such a tag has "not yet even been invented," says AMR. Given this, Boeing will single-handedly push RFID technology forward by effectively inducing the chip and inlay manufacturers to create a product that meets those specifications.

With respect to Boeing's suppliers, AMR's predictions are not unlike what has been witnessed in the case of mandated Wal-Mart suppliers. Achieving near-term, quantifiable ROI according to traditional models will be difficult. However, the initiative represents an opportunity for Boeing suppliers to forge a tighter, more lasting relationship with the giant company, who for most is probably a key customer. In the report's words: "By collaborating with Boeing from the start, the suppliers better position themselves as long-term partners rather than short-term providers. Long-term supplier relationships generate long-term profits." Furthermore, the sooner suppliers deploy RFID, the more prepared they will be for the inevitability of widespread adoption and the supply chain benefits thereof.

AMR's overall conclusion is a positive one for the industry. Essentially: Boeing's initiative will advance RFID technology by generating demand for more and better-performing product.

Read AMR Research report
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