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RFID and Supply Chain - Reverse consumer effect

RFID, Supply Chain and the Reverse Consumer Effect

During the last several years, Radio frequency ID or RFID technology was seen as the catalyst to supply chain revolution. But many feel that the most important technology trend is moving into the reverse direction i.e. from business use to consumer use. RFID technology in the supply chain has not progressed as well as the RFID industry had hoped for. This is creating the 'reverse consumer effect'. The consumer effect is when technologies popularized by consumers find their way into business use. A great example is the Apple iPod or social networking sites like Orkut. But RFID, which has been a corporate technology since its introduction is finding its way into the consumer market. Businesses in various sectors and industries are adopting RFID, but not necessarily for the supply chain.

Examples can be derived from At&T's move to provide radio-frequency identification and GPS-based products and services for schools. Schools can use RFID to track their staff and students. Even insurance companies, and hospitals are using RFID tags to track important assets, files and equipment. On the reverse, corporate side, Wal-Mart (RFID's most aggressive user -- e.g. Wal-Mart's suppliers tag pallets and cases with RFID tags), has said that its RFID plans have fallen short of the company's goals.

Case Study Quotes

"Pretty much, Apple and Dell are the only ones in this industry making money. They make it by being Wal-Mart. We make it by innovation". - Steve Jobs, Apple