ELTRUN E-Business Research Centre of Athens University of Economics and Business conducted a survey in 2014 under the auspices of “RFID in Europe”, with the objective to discover the beliefs and intentions of European managers about RFID investments. RFID in Europe started as a European Union project (namely RACE networkRFlD) (FP7 Thematic Network- CIP-ICT-PSP.2008.3.1, a European concerted effort on RFID) with the objective to increase awareness and competitiveness of RFID technology in Europe. Today, it continues as a network of more than two hundred (200) European organizations involved with RFID from more than fifteen (15) European countries. RFID in Europe network links the RFID industry, academia and the user community aspiring to promote RFID best practices, case studies, reports, guidelines, services and events to the widest possible audience of stakeholders at National and European level. 70 European managers from more than 15 European countries participated in the RFID survey; 77,1% of the participants are managers while 21,4% are CEOs. The majority of the participants (81%) is familiar with RFID technology and has direct personal responsibility of initiating an RFID project in their organization (74%). The following paragraphs summarize the results of this survey investigating RFID adoption and deployment, considering the main issues investigated through the questionnaire.
Intention to Invest in RFID
On the one hand, 80% of the participants’ organizations have already implemented an RFID project. On the other hand, 50% of the currently non-investors are planning to evaluate RFID and 57,2% are planning to invest in RFID in the very near future (1-2 years). To give more details, figure 1 shows that 31,4% of participants’ organizations have a fully-operative RFID project and plan to initiate more RFID projects. Respectively, 20% are planning to evaluate RFID.
Considering the time of investment of those companies intending to adopt RFID, 64% of the participants answered that they will deploy RFID very soon (31,4% in less than a year and 32,9% in 1-2 years).
Industry and RFID Application Areas
The main purpose and application area of the participants’ RFID projects include traceability, asset tracking, inventory audit and inbound/outbound logistics. Between 40% and 50% of their RFID projects is
in pilot phase or has already rolled in these four application areas (Figure 2). Comparing these results with the ones from the same survey in 2011, it is encouraging that the number of RFID projects in pilot or roll-out phase is increasing.
Further, figure 3 reveals that Retail, Manufacturing and Logistics & Supply Chain Management industries are those that have mostly adopted and deployed RFID technology.
Figure 1: Current deployment status of RFID project in the organization
Figure 2: RFID projects’ application areas
Figure 3: RFID projects’ application industries
Perceived RFID benefits and Barriers
Most participants (71,4%) find their RFID project’s expected value of return high. Only few (5,7%) expect low value of return. Further, this finding is reinforced because most participants (72,9%) believe that the RFID project’s benefits exceed its cost (Net Present Value (NPV) >0) (Figure 4). In addition, the participants appear to expect almost the same NPV (5.17-5.5) for RFID projects in the four pre-identified application areas (traceability, asset tracking, inventory audit and inbound/outbound logistics).
Figure 4: Perceived Net Present Value of RFID projects
To find out more on the perceived benefits of RFID projects, we asked the participants’ opinion on specific performance measures. On the one hand, 30 t0 40% of the participants find profitability, sales and return on investment increased by 1-29% (Figure 5). On the other hand, inventory replenishment time and stock levels, as well as operational costs are perceived as decreased by 1-29% (Figure 6). We suppose that the participants would not risk to mention higher (>30%) benefits of RFID implementations since it is a rather new technology with only few quantitative benefits of RFID projects published. On the contrary, half of the respondents find cost (50%) and burden of required organizational learning and technical knowledge (48.7%) the two most significant barriers in RFID adoption.
Figure 5: Increased Performance Metrics due to implemented RFID project
Figure 6: Decreased Performance Metrics due to implemented RFID project