The RFID Imperative

The adoption of RFID technology is inevitable. Its transformational promise, huge. But the success of RFID in your business depends on your infrastructure. Here's what you need to add to your holiday to-do list

Not a day goes by that 7-Eleven CIO Keith Morrow doesn't dream about RFID technology. Like most CIOs in the retail industry, he believes that widespread RFID adoption is a sure thing and that the technology—which some day will enable him to track every single product, from manufacture to checkout (and possibly beyond), that the $33 billion convenience store chain sells—will revolutionize his business. He also knows that the biggest names in global retailing—Carrefour, Gillette, Home Depot, Marks & Spencer, Metro AG, Procter & Gamble, Tesco and Wal-Mart—are all lining up behind it. And with the holiday shopping season looming (a season coming in a stagnant economy that's been squeezing retailers dry, forcing them to discount merchandise deeply in order to turn it), Morrow can't help thinking about RFID's promise of absolute inventory control, consequent cost reductions and increases in margin.

But to realize those savings and profits before the competition, to roll out the thousands of RFID readers and the millions of RFID tags that will give 7-Eleven Superman-like vision into its supply chain, Morrow has had to devote himself to RFID full time. He campaigns internally for top-level support for RFID by demonstrating the wonders of the technology at the tech fairs he mounts annually for his business colleagues. And for the past two years, he has been conducting pilots to figure out the cost of a full-fledged RFID implementation, its potential ROI and the impact of the technology on 7-Eleven's existing systems.

Because, as he and everyone else knows, the cost will be high and the impact will be huge.

View: The complete article at CIO

News source: CIO

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