RFID Technology in Wal-Mart Global Value Chain

RFID Technology in Wal-Mart
Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a technology that uses electromagnetic fields to identify a set of objects or to transmit particular data. The technology is used to identify and track objects within a given location, such as a store. Wireless networks have become an integral part of business today. They can remotely monitor activities or movement of items in and out of a facility and thus are widely used in business and industrial environments as monitoring tools. RFID is a replacement of the traditional barcodes that are used to identify objects in stores.
Wal-Mart is one of the world’s largest suppliers, dealing with millions of consumers in their stores. The RFID technology is thus fundamental for the company to enhance efficiency and improve its profitability. Apart from the above benefit, RFID technology benefits companies and businesses in various other ways. The technology automates the collection of data and thus reduces the error and human effort used. Fewer errors mean better efficiency in the stores and thus better tracking of activities and increased profit margins. The technology also supports the retrieval of data from no line-of-sight items within the store. Consumers do not have to be at the counter for information to be transmitted to scanners. The technology can also be used simultaneously as the readers can identify multiple tags at the same time. It is also a way through which the business can manage their inventory and stock.

RFID technology has its shortcomings despite the benefits of increased efficiency and profits. One of the major concerns is the privacy of information. RFIDs can be read with specific scanners, and thus, it is easy for unauthorized personnel to retrieve private information with such scanners. The RFID tags are also costly to implement compared to the regular barcodes.  The implementation of the technology can also be very difficult and time-consuming, especially if each item in the store has a unique RFID tag. Signals from the codes are also influenced by certain liquids and metal and thus can be jammed. Despite the cons, the RFID technology has proven to be a useful tool to increase efficiency in huge stores and reduce the bullwhip effect.

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