Technology has become an integral part of the business processes and operations that are carried out in the business organizations. There are several new components of technology that are being created with each passing day and technology has been changing at a very rapid rate. One of the recent advancements in the field of technology is Radio Frequency Identification technology (RFID) (Jechlitschek, 2013). The document covers the details of RFID along with its advantages, limitations and applications.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology – Meaning & Working
Radio Frequency Identification which is commonly known and abbreviated as RFID is the technology that identifies the presence of a particular object on the basis of the radio signals. RFID is a technology that can be used for the identification of various different entities such as people, items, packages and likewise. RFID is being increasingly used in the business organizations for a variety of different purposes (Kaur, 2011).
Working of RFID is based upon three primary components as RFID tag or a smart label, RFID reader and a smart antenna that is used in the RFID system. RFID tag is the component that is present in the RFID system which consists of integrated circuit along with an antenna. Both of these components assist in the transmission of the data and information to RFID reader. RFID reader is the component that collects the information and converts the radio waves in usable format. The information that is collected from the RFID tags is then gathered and stored in a database system which allows the system experts to analyze the information at later stages (Weis, 2015).
Working of RFID System
RFID is a technology that comes under the broader group of technologies as Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC). The RFID tags that are present in the RFID system also comprise of a protective material to make sure that these tags stay protected from a number of different environment conditions.
Business/Technical Problems Solved by RFID
There are a number business and technical problems that are solved by the application and installation of RFID systems.
There are a number of assets that are associated with the organizations that get lost or become difficult to find when needed. Tracking and management of these assets can be easily done with the aid of RFID systems. RFID technology can be used by installing the RFID systems in the assets which would allow the management to keep a track of the assets at all times.
There are a number of employees that are engaged with the business organizations. There are chances that physical security may not be sufficient for authentication and identification of these employees which may bring up several issues for business organizations. It is in these cases that RFID comes into picture and can be easily used for tracking and management of human resources and people (Want, 2006).
Organizations face a lot of technical trouble in managing and monitoring the documents that are associated with it. There are scenarios associated with loss of documents or mismanagement issues. RFID system can be installed for document tracking which would allow lesser time to be spent in the tracking of the documents. Also, there are severe legal obligations that may come up in case of a loss of document which is also avoided.
Limitations of RFID
There are however certain limitations that is associated with RFID systems and applications which are as listed below.
There is still no RFID standard that has been created as yet. It is because of this reason that there may be issues associated with standardization.
There are technical issues that often come up in case of RFID tags that lead to problems such as compromised functioning.
Cost is also one of the limitations that have been observed in association with RFID tags. The cost of an overall RFID system is much higher as compared to that of the barcode system.
There are security and privacy concerns that are also associated with RFID systems. The consumers that make use of the products that have the RFID tags installed in them can be easily and conveniently traced. There is also a great risk to the privacy of the product as the serial numbers and product codes can be easily obtained (Iyer, 2005).
There can be interference of the radio signals with other radio frequencies along with radio transmissions, metals, liquids and many other materials. There can also be reader and tag collisions that may result in the disruption of the regular functioning of the entire system (Bakir, 2013).
Organization’s Implementation of RFID – Wal-Mart
There are several organizations that have implemented RFID systems in their architecture and have gained a number of benefits with the implementation of the same.
A number of retail stores suffer from the problems associated with inventory management due to the absence of real-time data and bullwhip effects. RFID systems have been implemented and used by the retail stores to overcome the inventory issues and one such organization that has made use of these systems is Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart has established itself as the largest retailer on a global platform. However, there were a number supply chain issues that were emerging in the organization and these issues were becoming difficult to deal with. Wal-Mart implemented RFID systems to improve its supply chain management and supply chain systems. RFID systems have allowed Wal-Mart to have higher efficiency and accuracy in the ordering decisions and other supply chain activities as well. In the first phase of the implementation, the organization mainly used RFID systems for the tracking of pallets of merchandise travelling all across the organization’s supply chains and warehouses. There were marked improvements that were observed in terms of monitoring, management, tracking, efficiency and accuracy. Volume of excess inventory was controlled with the aid of RFID systems in the next phase of implementation (Kosasi, 2014).
There has been a transformation in the way Wal-Mart runs all of its retail stores after the implementation of RFID in its architecture. The movement of the goods can now be easily tracked and managed. Also, stocks can be easily shelved using the radio frequency tags.
Prospects of RFID for Success in the Marketplace
There are a number of different prospects of RFID in the marketplace in various business and industry sectors. RFID is being used and is expected to be used at a larger scale in the supply chain and inventory management activities in the manufacturing units, retails stores and production houses. These systems can also be used in transportation industry for easy tracking and management of the vehicles and for offering better services to the customers. In the field of healthcare, patient safety and overall management can be achieved with the aid of RFID systems (Nambiar, 2009).
There can be higher use of RFID systems with the development of the standards and enhancement of the technology. One of the key limitations of an RFID system at present is the security and privacy concerns. Once, these limitations are overcome then there will be enhanced use of the technology in the market.
Technology has evolved and expanded itself over the years and one of the latest contributions in the field of technology is Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). There are a number of business and technical problems and issues that are resolved with the application of RFID systems and tags. It is necessary to make certain advancements and enhancements in the RFID technology in order to make it more secure and to make sure that there are increased number of applications of the same.
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