What are some of the key issues the aircraft manufacturer faced in Europe?
I assume you refer to the key business problems that led Airbus to take an enterprise-wide approach to deploying RFID technologies. Carlo K. Nizam, the firm's head of value chain visibility and auto-ID, has spoken about the increasingly competitive global market, and the need to reduce costs and streamline business processes in order to remain competitive.
The interesting thing, to me, is that Airbus is a world-class manufacturing company. Its products are world-class, and it is highly respected. It didn't have huge problems driving it to adopt a new technology. Rather, in the quest to keep improving and becoming more efficient, Airbus examined the potential benefits of a new technology, and found it could deliver a level of visibility into the locations of parts, assets, tools, people and so forth, that could help it to reduce costs and streamline processes.
In my view, Airbus has taken the right approach to deploying RFID. It has both passive and active RFID systems, because no one system will do everything. And it has viewed RFID as an infrastructure that can be deployed across many areas of its business in different applications, each of which delivers value not just to Airbus, but also to its suppliers and customers.
So the company is tracking tools, jigs, containers and other items critical to keeping its manufacturing line running smoothly. Each project is launched after testing and a pilot are conducted, and each project is only implemented if it will deliver value to the business. So far, the results have been impressive (see Airbus Trials Showing Strong Results).
Now, Airbus is expanding its use of RFID to parts tagged by suppliers. This will help the firm to customize cabins for customers, and enable clients to collect data regarding items within a cabin, such as oxygen canisters, quickly and effectively (see Airbus Issues RFID Requirements, Expands RFID Usage). This is the right way to deploy RFID systems—and that's why I invited Nizam to deliver the keynote address at RFID Journal LIVE! 2010, which will take place on Apr. 14-16, 2010, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.
—Mark Roberti, Editor, RFID Journal
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