For years now, RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) has been used to track everything from livestock to library books. It’s technology that has enhanced security in retail stores and automated toll-talking on the highway. There’s no doubt about it: RFID has become a part of our everyday lives. But, have you ever stopped to think how RFID technology could support your green supply chain initiatives? Could RFID help you increase efficiencies, limit waste, and reduce your carbon footprint?
Over the past week, or so, Supply Chain Digest
has published two articles that look into questions like these, and as it turns out, the answers are not all that clear cut.
In “RFID News: Will Green Supply Chain be Key Catalyst in RFID Growth?”
, the authors explain how RFID can add to your sustainability plan. For instance, RFID technology can track reusable containers and other expensive assets. (Remember how earlier this year, PepsiCo
started using pallets embedded with RFID tags?) It could also help you accurately track vehicle miles and has potential to improve stock levels and reduce the need for expedited freight.
But, there are downsides to the technology, as well. RFID tag components, such as computer chips, adhesive, and metallic antennae, complicate recycling efforts. In addition, RFID tags can raise significant privacy and security issues.
For me, the take-home message is clear: this is an industry to keep an eye on. Product and application announcements are “continuing to come fast and furious,” according to the second SCDigest article
. This article summarizes the latest news in this rapidly evolving field. I was particularly intrigued with the report about the recent development of a system that can detect radiation and chemicals in shipping containers. RFID technology like this holds great promise for improving supply chain security.