Five Companies Big in RFID Adoption (Case Studies)

RFID Radio-frequency identification or RFID is new data-collection technology. This technology uses electronic tags to store identification data. A wireless transmitter sends the data to a management system for analysis. Companies are using it to different functions. The main uses of this technology for the companies are in the field of supply chain management. It is used by companies across sectors. Retailers and their suppliers are using this technology mostly. RFID is becoming a unique tool in the business process. It is a very powerful and important system. Most of the companies today adopting RFID to their business. They are not using this technology to their business only, but adopting at their suppliers level also. These companies are helping their suppliers to use RFID in their operation and improve the efficiency.

Companies are issuing mandates, which ask the suppliers to put RFID tags to products that are shipped to them. Even the FDA is looking at the RFID as a way of solving the problem with counterfeit drugs. Wal-Mart Wal-Mart is one of the companies, who are leading the way. Wal-Mart started with adopting RFID to their distribution hubs. It planned to use RFID to its different distribution hubs to increase the efficiencies and effectiveness of these hubs. But as they were unable to complete the projected target and as some of the suppliers had a problem with the ROI also, they shifted their efforts towards stores. AlbertsonsAlbertsons is a food and drug retailer. It launched an initiative to use electronic tags for tracking goods through its supply chain. It also asked its suppliers to proceed towards adopting RFID in their process. Albertson is using RFID in its warehouses.

It is using RFID tags to track cases and pallets. The main focus is on improving the customer satisfaction by increasing supply chain efficiency. Albertsons this initiative is trying to use RFID technology to track pallets and cases of goods in the movement through warehouses and stores. Best Buy Best buy started with pre-pilot testing of OAT System Inc.'s RFID framework, for its business. RFID tags are being produced using this framework. For supply chain, it planned to use another software. One of the main suppliers of Best Buy, iRiver started the pre pilot testing for Best Buy. Best Buy has a mandate for its suppliers to use RFID in their business process. According to the mandate, the supplied item to Best should come with the RFID tags attached to them.

Best Buy plans are to move to item-level tagging and to take the RFID adoption to another level beyond simple tagging of pallets and cases. Here it tries to differ from Wal-Mart, Target, Tesco and other retail chains. Tagging individual items is the main objective of Best Buy, which will increase the efficiency. The company is following EPCglobal guidelines for tagging pallets and cases. It has asked for requirements for suppliers which are similar to those issued by Wal-Mart and Target. Target Target is the fourth largest retailer in the United States. Target plan is to use RFID tags on pallets and cases. These pallets and cases are sent to particular regional distribution centers (DCs). Target is using EPC standards. Target has put forward a mandate for its suppliers, which requests them to apply RFID tags on pallets and cases, which are sent to regional distribution facilities. Target has levied its Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) mandate, thereby forcing the industry to adopt RFID.

Like Wal-Mart, Target used RFID tags in the products they carry. The company planned testing RFID technologies at the pallet and case level with selected vendor partners at first. Target worked with EPCglobal to develop common technology standards. These standards are provided to benefit both retailers and their suppliers.

Metro Like other behemoths of different industries and of the same industry where it is operating, Metro has also set out to use RFID in its operations. Metro is one of the top five trading and retail groups in the world. To meet the competition in the retail industry, Metro has also started to use RFID technology to increase its efficiency and profitability. Metro Group used Intel Solution Services in adopting RFID technology. It helped the company to develop and integrate RFID technology across different supply chain processes. METRO Group launched a European RFIDInnovationCenter . Intel Solution Services performed testing and provided consultancy to the Metro group. Challenges These companies often face challenges and barriers in adopting RFID technology like problem in integrating RFID with existing systems where they made significant investments, problem with the cost of implementing, which is very high, problem with ever changing RFID Sector, where technologies keep on changing fast, problem in synchronization of data, which is developing slowly, problem with operation in the implementation time etc. While adopting RFID to the overall business, companies have to overcome these barriers.


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