A June Aberdeen Group survey found that nearly 70 percent of responding companies were adopting RFID because of retailer demands. But that doesn’t mean companies aren’t looking for other ways to use RFID. Security and asset management, for example, were among other drivers cited in Aberdeen’s survey, titled “The RFID Benchmark Report.”
At Texas Instruments’ Educational & Productivity Solutions division, which makes calculators, the RFID team is currently looking into areas where the technology could improve business processes. One area is preventing loss by tagging employee laptops and mobile devices as well as backup tapes (which currently rely on bar codes). Another initiative is tracking the preproduction calculators loaned to schools for student and teacher evaluation to make sure they are returned.
Chris Parker, a Texas Instruments infrastructure manager in charge of RFID, says that with item-level RFID tagging, the improvement in the now-manual process of receiving a returned, defective calculator, figuring out when and where it was built and determining which of Texas Instruments’ many suppliers’ parts contributed to the defect, would bring unprecedented transparency and efficiency to the company’s operations.
While Parker admits that you can get “carried away” thinking about RFID’s possibilities, he says he won’t “try to force any of that without a clear direction from the business.”