What's next for RFID? | RetailTechPodcast

What's next for RFID?

In 2003, Walmart launched a pilot program with 100 of its top suppliers and vendors to tag all pallets and cases within two years, but by 2006, the initiative was all but dead. A combination of poor timing on the heels of industry-wide ERP implementation and other IT investments, a lack of data-crunching capability to use the information generated from tracking tagged products and the high cost of the RFID tags, meant even Walmart couldn't scale it up. "A lot of suppliers at the time told their 3PL, if we get an order from Walmart, slap an RFID chip on the pallet, but we're not going to spend a lot on the technology," Dwight Klappich, vice president of supply chain execution research for Gartner, told Supply Chain Dive. Today, the systems of record - ERPs and transportation and warehouse management systems - are able to ingest data from RFID in real time, Jason Ivy, senior manager of supply chain and logistics for Impinj, a RAIN RFID provider, told Supply Chain Dive. One difference to consider is that most RFID tags don't use batteries, so they're better for tagging items in what's called an open-loop system, in which the objects move one way through the supply chain. With the ability to store and transmit data, RFID could be a natural fit to enter data into supply chain blockchain applications. "You can start thinking about what information you need on the RFID tag beyond the SKU number and whether you should use RFID or maybe use a 2D barcode instead to support the blockchain," Klappich said. Despite overcoming some of the barriers like cost and accuracy that slowed adoption, RFID technology is still fighting for a role in the supply chain. Read more