Abstract RFID is the inventory management of the future. With the help of this technology companies will have total supply-chain visibility, improved product in-stock rates, and protection against counterfeiting. Introduction Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a technology that’s been touted as a replacement for Bar Code. RFID tags resemble the size of a postage stamp that has contained with in a minute microprocessor with storage capability, as well as an antenna which communicates with the network and ultimately a database. The characteristics of RFID let it be easily adopted and integrated with any object that can be tagged- this object may even be consumers. Because of this some people are a little wary of the technology.
A lot has been reported in the media regarding the use of RFID and how marketers will adopt the technology by tagging products to monitor and track consumer user habits. This seems to be inciting privacy advocates who think RFID is the answer to Big Brothers prayers. These kind of reports can be damaging to the technology and distract consumers from the benefits of it. At a recent Embedded Security Seminar conference in Boston, one of the main speakers a renowned authority on RFID predicted that more than half a trillion RFID tags will be consumed annually by the decades end. RFID is not a new technology; it has been around in one form or another for awhile now. Julie England, VP of Texas Instruments Inc.
and general manager of its RFID business said that one analyst has called RFID “the oldest emerging technology.” (web) How RFID works In order to embrace the 3 technology one must be able to understand how it works. While tags and standards are critical drivers for analysis for deployment purposes, three other areas are also critical: RFID readers, middle ware, and current processes and systems. Tags can either be active or passive: o Passive tags do not posses a power supply, and the minute electrical current induced in the antenna by the incoming radio frequency scan provides enough power for the tag to send a response. The tag will briefly converse with the reader for verification and the exchange of data.
As a result passive tags can only transmit information over shorter distances (typically 10 feet or less). Since they are low in cost they are ideal for tracking lower cost items. o Active tags have their own power supply, and have longer ranges and larger storage capacities as well as the ability to store additional information by the transceiver. They can reach distances of over 100 feet. There are four different types of tags in use right now and they are categorized based on their frequency: Low-Frequency, High-Frequency, Ultra-High Frequency, and Microwave Frequency. o Readers- these are the engines that make RFID tick, readers interrogate tags and sift through there data and prepare it for storage or use.
o Middleware- plays two critical roles in deployment and use of RFID. First, it connects readers to enterprise systems and data repositories. Second, most middle ware vendors are developing tools to assist in filtering data more effectively. o Processes and Systems- before any RFID project can kick off, the initial stage of analysis will include the study of current processes and systems. Implementing RDIF in Today’s World Until recently RDIF was considered a thing of the future but not anymore with companies like Wal-Mart picking it up. Linda Dillman, CIO of Wal-Mart, said they are on track to have RFID in 600 stores and 12 distribution centers by the end of 2005.
(web) Wal-Mart and other retailers say RFID will help them track goods throughout the supply chain and ultimately will help them get the right products in the right stores at the right time. It ” ll also help locate specific products anywhere in the supply chain, which should make recalls easier to manage. Other big names in retail that are getting behind RDIF are- Asda, Carrefour, Gillette, Home Depot, Marks & Spencer, Metro AG, Procter & Gamble and Tesco. By using RDIF managers of companies will no longer have the nightmare of wondering what products are being taken off there shelves, how many are being taken and when they should order more of that product. RDIF tags are a just-in-time managers dream come true. Conclusion While the concept of RDIF has been around for a long time the fact that major retail companies are starting to use will make the technology more well know and a quicker rate.
With the implementations of this technology the ways of inventory control management will be changed forever. The only problem that is foreseeable with RDIF is people might resist it because they feel like it is invading there privacy if it is taken to far. When it comes to inventory management RDIF is definitely a good thing. Bibliography Wal-Mart CIO Says RFID is Here to Stay, by Laurie Sullivan at web RFID, by Mohamed MawjiAre you ready for RFID? , by Robyn Aber.