Rapid Adoption of RFID in Manufacturing and Logistics
RFID is mainly a card business today and more is spent on RFID in China than in any other country. However, that hides the fact that the Manufacturing and Logistics sectors are rapidly adopting RFID for security, safety, efficiency and other reasons. The IDTechEx RFID Knowledgebase of 2959 RFID projects in 98 countries reveals that Manufacturing and Logistics have risen to become 17.2% of all projects, as shown below. Indeed in China it is already 26.3% of all projects as befits China’s dominance of manufacturing for the world.
The adoption of RFID in the Manufacturing and Logistics sector is taking many new forms as it becomes used for everything from theft and counterfeit prevention to increasing sales by reducing stockouts and managing standing assets more efficiently and controlling access to secure areas. For example, Ubiquitous Sensor Networks with fault tolerant ZigBee networking are being trialled for asset management. Dr Chang-Hun Lee of the National Information Society Agency, Korea says, “Ubiquitous Sensor Networks will be a huge RFID market in a few years.” Then there is the form of active RFID known as Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS.)
Suppliers of RFID to the Manufacturing and Logistics sectors are prospering. For example, Belgravium in the UK, offering RFID for management of standing assets and supply chains, in partnership with Ubisense and Sirit, grew sales 101% last year and achieved profits up 88% at $1.844 million, an impressive 16.9% of sales. In Lockheed Martin in the USA, we estimate that Savi Technology continues to make satisfactory profits as it passes $200 million in gross sales value, up about threefold in three years. Savi uses RFID to manage standing assets and supply chains for military forces in the main and its joint venture with Hutchison Whampoa called Savi Networks is busy applying active RFID to intermodal containers to alert to tampering in real time and provide supply chain visibility.