Measuring the Value of Tracking Systems

By Mark Roberti

A student at the Cambridge University Auto-ID Labs has developed a method of evaluating RFID and non-RFID tracking systems, and is now looking for a few companies in Europe to test his thesis.

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Mark Roberti

Thomas Kelepouris, a Ph.D. student at the Cambridge University Auto-ID Labs, has developed a method for measuring the effectiveness of a supply-chain tracking system (in monetary terms) and benchmarking its performance. Such a system could be used, for example, to determine whether RFID could make a useful contribution compared to an existing tracking system, or to suggest further improvements for an RFID-based tracking system to make the most of the technology.

Thomas is looking for a few companies—preferably in Europe—to participate in a pilot study that would help validate his work. To qualify, interested an company should have the following specific characteristics:

• It should have a tracking system in place (either RFID or non-RFID).

• Its tracking information should be used for decision making (distribution planning, production and so on).

• The costs associated with decisions based on the tracking system should be quantifiable (for example, cost per distribution option).

The project results, which will be made available to participating companies at no cost, will include:

• A final report analyzing the overall project approach, which will present and discuss the research results.

• A presentation from the research team on the project's findings, discussing the results and providing suggestions for future improvements of the tracking practices.

• Any data resulting from the analysis of company data will be made available to the company confidentially.

This seems like a good opportunity for any CEO interested in switching to RFID but not sure if the move will result in savings or additional benefits. If you would like to work with Thomas, send an e-mail to .