The latest RFID survey of 669 supply chain and IT executives from Larstan Business Reports suggest the following:
- Companies that are not well-automated may reap the most dramatic gains by deploying RFID, because they will realize process efficiency, labor savings and accuracy gains that currently are enjoyed by more automated companies already using tracking technologies such as bar coding.
- Even highly automated companies stand to gain in efficiency, labor savings and accuracy from RFID deployment.
- Early RFID technology trials and deployments have confirmed that the amount of data generated by pallet, case and item tracking via RFID tags will be 100 to 1,000 times the volume that companies are faced with when using traditional bar coding systems.
- Interestingly, half feel that their existing systems can already accommodate the anticipated flood of data coming from RFID deployments, which by some measures will be 100 to 1,000 times the amount generated today.
- Two-thirds cite retailer mandates as the reason for their RFID projects.
- 60% believe in RFID's promise of boosting efficiency and reducing labor.
- Half believe that RFID standards and consequent interoperability are critical to a successful supply chain transformation; in the transportation and logistics vertical, this feeling was held even more strongly, at 69%.
- 90% argue that a foreseeable "timely and substantial" return-on-investment is necessary before embarking on RFID deployments.
- The first take-away from this report seems to be that the need for middleware has been overstated. Whether this is true remains to be seen, and will probably only be determined when considerably more implementations graduate from simple slap-and-ship to more integrated and comprehensive systems.
- The second observation is that while suppliers do believe in RFID's latent abilities,they would like wait for the resuts to be demonstrated.Despite retailers' and vendors' efforts to sell a larger and longer-term vision, many suppliers still insist that a quantifiable, near-term ROI is absoultely needed to make investments in the technology.
This is an important survey result - disctinct from the "Expert Talks" or the "Organisational Diktats" that we hear about RFID deployments. The full report is available here.