RFID adoption held back by lack of understanding from UK Plc, experts debate at Softworld

A perceived lack of standards and an unrealistic understanding of cost implications are still hindering the adoption of RFID technology amongst many UK organisations, according to a panel of experts speaking at last weeks Softworld Supply Chain event (16 17 March 2005, NEC, Birmingham).

According to the panel, press hype and high profile RFID implementation projects have resulted in businesses dismissing the technology due to these preconceptions, when there could be a legitimate business case. Debating the topic of RFID compliance, the panel comprised: Nigel Montgomery, Director of European Research, AMR Research; Eelco de Jong, Global RFID Domain Lead, LogicaCMG and David Lyon, EPC Global Line of Business Manager, GS1UK.

The panel argued that prices are in fact reducing, and that this year is a good year to start pilot projects due to the standards already developed such as EPCglobal. In addition, the panel agreed that the benefits of RFID are not purely limited to the retail sector as many organisations believe, and that other industry sectors can benefit greatly from this technology.

Many organisations dismiss this technology without proper investigation. ROI is not simply about cost reduction, it should also be about what the technology enables you to do that you couldnt do before comments panelist Nigel Montgomery. The panel agreed that the case for RFID is certainly very strong, but may not suit all organisations at this time. In many cases companies have yet to leverage Barcoding and other technologies; RFID may seem a step too far. However, the panel encouraged companies not to look at RFID in isolation of their overall supply chain. There are a range of technologies, including RFID, Voice and GPS, that will all have a significant impact on supply chain management within the next ten years.

Softworld Supply Chain is now in its thirteenth year and featured an exhibition of around 60 of the leading supply chain and logistics software providers. In addition, the free independent educational programme ran throughout the event the panel debate forming a crucial session.

The next Softworld Supply Chain event takes place from 8 9 March 2006 at the NEC, Birmingham. For more information please visit: www.softworld.co.uk/sc.

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