RFID Adopters Face Challenges

Companies that want to use RFID must overcome technical and cultural hurdles.
Standing in the way of retailers embracing RFID more quickly are technical challenges that primarily relate to tag use and accuracy rates, as well as cultural and organizational challenges stemming from mistrusting the IT department and general resistance to change, according to an executive survey by the Retail System Alert Group released at this week's Retail Systems 2004/VICS Collaborative Commerce in Chicago.

Survey respondents reported that impeding implementation is the inability to find an RFID tag that produces a sufficient read rate. Other common problems include affixing tags to products, interference from other RF devices and nearby machinery, and disruption to existing product handing and storage procedures.

While these technical and business process issues were a factor in souring RFID deployment, culture is the overriding factor holding back adoption in the retail industry, the survey indicates. Almost 15% of retail respondents reported internal distrust and animosity toward the IT department, and approximately 30% indicated a fear of change within their organizations. The majority of survey respondents said they would spend less than $500,000 on RFID adoption in 2004.