WERC Study: Getting a read on RFID

According to a recent study by the Warehousing and Education Research Council (WERC), nearly half of responding companies (44%) are not considering RFID technology at present.

Proponents of RFID claim the technology has the potential to greatly improve supply chain efficiency and effectiveness, by helping companies better deal with inventory management and information sharing. Ideally, if and when RFID becomes fully implemented in distribution centers, it may eliminate the need for bar code scanning and manual counting at receiving docks. This could greatly reduce both the labor hours needed and the amount of human error inherent in the current bar code scanning methods.

The study’s authors, Barb Osyk and B. Vijayaraman, says companies are not implementing RFID because they can’t see a foreseeable benefit. Other reasons were cost and lack of funding. Technical limitations and lack of customer demand were other reasons for not implementing RFID technology.

The companies surveyed employ many technologies in their supply chain and warehousing applications. The most popular technologies utilized are barcoding, printed labels, scanners, WMS, conveyors, and material handling equipment vehicles. Sixty percent of the companies surveyed are using RF technology.

While the majority of companies (64%) planning to implement RFID are in the initial stages of conducting research and gathering information regarding RFID. The other 36% of the companies are at different stages of implementation such as cost justification and budgeting (7%), project plan development (10%), approved project plan/budget (5%), vendor selection (4%), purchasing (5%), and others (5%).

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