RFID is an acronym for the “radio-frequency identification” and it refers to a technology whereby digital data is encoded in small tags and is received by the reader by the use the radio waves. The receivers convert the data into electric signals that are then sent to the computer for interpretation. The computer then stores the data related to the signals. The technology can be applied in a variety of sectors to improve service delivery and profitability in the organizations. This paper addresses the application of RFID in the retail sector with a special focus on Walmart supermarkets. The organization has been undergoing some losses as a result of the loss of high valued stock. The organization is not able to locate the presence of such goods in the organization. RFID can therefore be applied to help the organization in tracking such commodities effectively and protecting the organization from losses. Walmart is currently carrying out a trial in the adoption of RFID in the performance of activities in the organization.
Overview of the RFID system
Basics of the components of the RFID system
RFID technology can be used in asset tracking in Walmart. The company needs to understand the basics of the RFID technology as a way of assessing whether the organization is ready to use the innovation. An understanding of the advantages and the disadvantages of the system gives information on whether it is useful to the organization or not. The technology is expensive to set up and maintain hence the organization should have an extra budget for it. All the RFID systems require antennas, readers and tags in order to function. The effectiveness of the system can be enhanced by the ancillary items that include mounting brackets, cables and the RFID system. The environment of Walmart is conducive for the use of technology because there are no factors that will impede the readability of the system. The current research involved a research on the ancillary devices that could be used in the research. The readers were connected in an area that is more appropriate for the reception of the waves (Kumar & Rahman, 2014).
Advancement of RFID used in the system
The advancements in technology that have been chosen in the current research such that the size of the tags is customized so that it can meet the needs of the organization. The company will also use a powerful computer that will ensure that the data is sent and received at a faster rate. The advancement in technology has led to the development of the computers that have very powerful processors. Such machines will be used to ensure that the system works faster and efficiently to the benefit of the company. Some of the projected advantages of the RFID system includes efficient material handling, faster checkout at the departmental stores, it enables the reduction of inventory, improved security and authentication at the airports and border crossings. The other advantages of the system includes the reduction of the out of stock situations, improves the customer service and improves the process of forecasting and planning for trading and inventory in specific companies (Kumar & Rahman, 2014).
The company has used several innovation procedures as a way to ensure that the RFID system works as needed. They include the deployment of the kits in various military stations to track the incoming and the outgoing of the goods. The efficient tracking of the good is also ensured by putting the tags in the goods that are being transported using the different existent forms of transport. The use of smart chips that are implanted in the packages helps in the identification of the products at the international airports and the advanced credit systems that allow the clients to pay for the products by simply waving the credit cards to pay for the products in the organization (Kumar & Rahman, 2014).
The industry standards that are used in the system
There are two main international RFID bodies or standardization namely EPCglobal (Electronic Product Code Global Incorporated) and ISO (International Standards Organization). The standards of both organizations were considered in the installation and use of the technology in Walmart supermarket. ISO was much considered because it is older compared to the rest. There are several categories of ISO depending on the aspect of RFID that is being addressed. They include data content and formatting, air interface and associated protocols, applications, conformance testing and other small areas. A series of classes were devised in order to make standardization possible. They include class 0, class 1, class 2, class 3, class 4 and class 5. Class 0 is the basic read-only tag that uses a backscatter which was programmed at the same time the tag chip was made. Class 1 is also a basic read-only tag that uses Backscatter with one-time non-volatile programme capability. The class 2 is composed of passive backscatter tags that have up to 65 k read-write memory. The class 3 tags are an improvement of the class 2 tags with an additional battery incorporated. Class 4 is comprised of an active tag that has a thin battery that enable the tag to function better and to provide power for the transmitter. Finally, class 5 tags are provides some additional circuitry that enables them to communicate with the other class 5 tags. The definitions are part of the EPC standardization. The class 4 tags `will be useful for Walmart. The standards require the tags to be of high quality so that they can function better (Dobkin, 2013).
Significance of the RFID system
The use of RFID in the organization is associated with the increase in the speed of delivering services in the organization. Time wastage is reduced since the tags are read on time. There is more convenience on the side of both the staff and the clients. It also increases the efficiency of services in the organization. The increase in the speed of delivering the services means that the staffs are able to serve more people in the organization. It also increases the accuracy with regards to the selection and the distribution process. The movement of goods in within the supply chain is therefore enhanced for the benefit of the organization since the more products and services a company sells the profits increase to a greater extent. The security of the products is also guaranteed since it is possible to identify the location of the products and services that are being tracked in the organization. The tags can also be placed in the company vehicles for easier monitoring in the organization. There are also several disadvantages that are associated with the system and they include the fact that it is expensive to install and maintain. The computer system needs cleanup and securing which requires money. The technology also requires skilled manpower to set up and maintain which may be inadequate. It is also a relatively newer technology hence many people may not be having adequate information about it which may bring challenges with regards to its implementation in the society. The standards may vary from one country to the other which means that there are challenges with regards to finding more information on radio frequency (Xu, Li, Shen, & Wang, 2014).
Security concerns that are related to the use of RFID
The primary challenge is the presence of the reluctant knowledgeable clients who may make the process of taking up the system to be more challenging. There is a likelihood of the tags being put on the personal property of the people without their knowledge which is an infringement on the privacy of an individual. The consumers are also scared of the fact that the technology can be used to trace their shopping patterns (Li, Deng, & Bertino, 2013).
Impact of implementation of RFID
The administration has to approve the technology so that it is allowed in the organization. The technical department has to make a formal request and submit a proposal that will inform the on what they need in order to implement the technology in the company and how the company stands to gain from the technology. The administration will then approve the proposal which precedes the implementation of the study.
Human and process changes
The implementation of the technology will lead to a change in the processes meaning that the company will have to come up with some new staff who are familiar with the technology to help in running the program. The organization may be forced to change the outlook of the human resources in the company. The process are also changed to march the requirements of the new technology.
Changes in Organization policies or enhancements to include training requirements
The change in the systems demands a change in the in the organizational policies as well as the training requirements. The company needs to employ the people who have knowledge in computer application so hence they will help the organization to advance its functionality in the organization. The people employed in the organization should also be flexible to make sure that they are able to work better in the organization (Kumar & Rahman, 2014).
Dobkin, D. M. (2013). The RF in RFID: UHF RFID in practice.
Kumar, A., & Rahman, S. (2014). RFID-enabled process reengineering of closed-loop supply chains in the healthcare industry of Singapore. Journal of Cleaner Production, 85, 382-394. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.04.037
Li, Y., Deng, R. H., & Bertino, E. (2013). RFID Security and Privacy. Synthesis Lectures on Information Security, Privacy, and Trust, 4(3), 1-157. doi:10.2200/s00550ed1v01y201311spt007
Xu, H., Li, Y., Shen, W., & Wang, R. (2014). Design and implementation of the supermarket shopping system based on RFID and Sketchup. Advances in Communication Technology and Application. doi:10.2495/cta140681