Tout RFID Benefits To Consumers, New Report Says - InformationWeek

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Software // Enterprise Applications

Tout RFID Benefits To Consumers, New Report Says

Instead of discussing intangible cost savings, companies should highlight the role RFID can play in food safety, counterfeit control, and warranty programs.

A.T. Kearney Inc. says retailers and suppliers should look beyond back-end benefits to their supply chains when implementing radio-frequency identification technology.

In a report released March 8, the consulting firm says companies should look for uses of RFID that will be meaningful to customers. In particular, A.T. Kearney's report concludes that, rather than touting intangible cost savings to customers, companies should use RFID to keep track of food safety, control the counterfeiting of products, and provide easier access to warranty information.

"Retailers and [consumer packaged goods] companies must avoid focusing too intently on the ways RFID tags can be used and instead stay focused on how RFID can improve consumer value and address complex business issues," Dave Donnan, an A.T. Kearney VP and author of the report, said in a statement.

The report also says retailers and suppliers will need to spend a good deal of time on their data-synchronization efforts to avoid exchanging the wrong data once RFID implementations are in full swing. According to A.T. Kearney, many manufacturers and retailers still exchange inaccurate product data despite industry efforts, such as UCCnet, toward standardized data formats. UCCnet is part of the Uniform Code Council and is a global online registry of product information that manufacturers and retailers use to improve electronic-data sharing for ordering, billing, and inventory management. Some companies, such as Home Depot Inc., are requiring all suppliers to adopt UCCnet product-registry standards.

Other A.T. Kearney recommendations include adapting business processes that can take advantage of the new supply-chain data information that RFID promises. According to the report, companies can find new ways to leverage the data to improve inventory management, product tracing, and recall management.

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