EPCGlobal Co-Chair: RFID ROI “Has Been Pure Luck”

Written by Evan Schuman
April 21st, 2007

When EPCGlobal finally banged heads together to get an industry standard set of descriptors EPC data this month, it said that it would allow?for the first time?consistent data comparisons along the supply chain. A co-chair of one of the key working groups within EPCGlobal tried using the proposed standard’s rollout as a way of giving RFID a second chance.

Last year, for example, was a very bad one?in general?for RFID, with many reports questioning the <a href="ROI viability of RFID, bolstered by retailers pulling back on trials and suppliers delivering the bare minimum to keep the retailers satisfied. Still, a few consumer goods giants managed to find ways to deliver a decent return on their RFID investment, including Boeing and Procter & Gamble.

But Bryan Tracey, co-chair of the Software Action Group at EPCglobal, said “people were not supposed to be getting ROI until they started sharing data” in a standardized way and that any ROI until now “has been pure luck.”

He later moderated his comment, saying that any success would have actually been the result of very hard work cobbling together proprietary formats to achieve limited data-sharing. “The fact that people have pulled off any ROI without these standards is amazing to me,” Tracey said. “It wasn?t supposed to happen.”

Now, Tracey argues, the real RFID efforts can begin and the industry should judge RFID’s successes on the kind of ROI results seen in the next year or two, as the standard starts being used. “We expect to start seeing real momentum this year,” he said.


One Comment | Read EPCGlobal Co-Chair: RFID ROI “Has Been Pure Luck”

  1. Bryan Tracey Says:

    Reading this, one could get the impression that data sharing is the only route to ROI with RFID and EPC. I will maintain that it is the most important route, but not the only one.

    We really can’t ignore the operational efficiencies that have been gained by many RFID adopters to date. Those of us inside the industry are extremely pleased with the ROI that has been derived to date. That has been the result of a lot of hard work and creativity. The future certainly holds new and additional opportunities for internally oriented ROI from RFID and we’d be foolish to pass those up.

    I firmly believe that the EPCIS specification gives the industry the rocket fuel it needs to evolve to a brand new level of benefits, efficiencies and ROI across the board. It will easily eclipse the past accomplishments quickly, but that doesn’t mean we should trivialize in any way the work done to date.–Bryan Tracey, Co-chair EPCglobal Software Action Group


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