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Midsize Companies Start to Move

Midsize enterprises around the world and in many industries are beginning to adopt RFID technologies.
Aug 01, 2008—A couple of years ago, RFID Journal was interested in doing an article on the adoption of RFID among midsize companies. We never ran the story because very few midsize companies were exploring the technology, let alone piloting or deploying it. That's no longer the case. We recently surveyed RFID Journal subscribers who work for midsize companies and got a healthy answer. Responders hailed from all corners of the globe: 65 percent were from North America, 17 percent from Asia, 9 percent from Europe, 3 percent from Mexico and South America, 3 percent from Australia, and 3 percent from Africa.

Slightly more than 25 percent of midsize companies responding to our survey said they are currently piloting RFID or have deployed a system. More than two-thirds said they are currently exploring the applications and potential benefits of using RFID.

Of the companies that have deployed RFID, very few have already seen a return on investment, though 15 percent expect to see an ROI within two years. More than two-thirds are not sure when or if they will get an ROI, indicating that even those that have adopted the technology are still learning how to use it to drive business value.

They also represented a wide range of industries. The largest sectors were manufacturing, consumer packaged goods, retail, health care and logistics. But we also heard from respondents who work in aerospace, chemicals, consumer electronics, defense/military/homeland security, education, financial services, government (nondefense/military/homeland security), high technology, packaging, pharmaceuticals, research and transportation.

While roughly a fourth of respondents cited price as an obstacle to adoption and another fourth cited lack of standards, it doesn't appear that any one factor is limiting adoption by midsize companies. Among the 34 percent of respondents in the "Other" category, some indicated they are currently exploring, evaluating or piloting the technology, or budgeting funds for 2009. Several said they are waiting for customer requirements, upgrading systems or training employees. And a few said they are waiting for management to make a decision.

Roughly two-thirds of midsize businesses surveyed said they plan to invest in RFID during the next 12 months, indicating adoption will likely pick up. Of course, this doesn't mean 65 percent of all midsize businesses are currently adopting RFID. RFID Journal subscribers are, by definition, among those exploring the technology. But the figure does indicate that midsize companies are starting to adopt RFID.

The data presented below strongly suggests that while some midsize companies are still waiting for early adopters (typically large companies and organizations) to pave the way and for the RFID industry to mature, many others are exploring, piloting and even deploying RFID technology. To learn more about the specific challenges midsize companies face—and the benefits they can reap—with RFID, see RFID: No Longer for Big Companies Only.
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