Auto Industry Plans Aggressive RFID Use

Aug. 23, 2005
Research shows the automotive industry leading in radio frequency identification adoption plans, followed closely by consumer goods and transportation and logistics.

The automotive, consumer goods, and transportation and logistics industries will lead the way in implementing radio frequency identification (RFID) technology solutions over the next year, according to new research commissioned by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), an industry trade group based in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.

Just over one-half of more than 500 organizations surveyed in North America have either completed RFID implementations or plan to do so within the next 12 months. This includes companies that are evaluating, pilot testing, implementing or currently using RFID.

Among specific industry sectors, the most aggressive adoption of RFID is planned in the automotive industry, where 59 percent of companies surveyed said they will deploy the technology over the next 12 months. The consumer goods industry and the transportation and logistics sectors were close behind, at 58 percent each.

CompTIA commissioned consulting firm Frost & Sullivan to evaluate the growth potential of the North American RFID market. Specific topics covered in the research include growth opportunities for vendors; end-user perspectives on RFID implementation and workforce related issues; and the need for training and certification activities associated with growth in technology adoption.


"Much of the RFID adoption in North America is being driven by mandates and directives from key organizations, including the U.S. Department of Defense, the Food and Drug Administration and Wal-Mart," says David Sommer, vice president, electronic commerce, CompTIA.

The research found that 46 percent of consumer goods makers, 34 percent of food and beverage makers and 24 percent of textile and apparel manufacturers are implementing RFID solutions because of a mandate from Wal-Mart.

"Slap-and-ship" RFID implementations—in which RFID tags are slapped on cartons, cases and pallets without linking the data available back into an IT system— are more likely to be adopted by companies subject to tight compliance mandates, the research found. For example, 56 percent of organizations in the consumer goods industry, 52 percent in the food and beverage sector and 51 percent in the textiles and apparel market are using the slap-and-ship method.

By comparison, 70 percent of banking and finance companies, 70 percent of information technology firms and 67 percent of transportation and logistics companies are integrating RFID with their current business processes.

Multi-site plans

Forty-one percent of organizations surveyed intend to deploy RFID solutions across multiple sites, with the transportation and health care sectors the most likely to choose this route. Another 31 percent of organizations will implement RFID organization-wide. Twenty percent of organizations will deploy the technology at a single site only, and 17 percent will use it only for select products.

The findings are based on the results of a Web-based survey of 510 North American companies, including current RFID users, prospective users and organization that have considered and rejected systems and applications featuring RFID technology. In addition, interviews were conducted with vendors for sales and support of hardware and software for applications utilizing RFID, IT systems integrators, resellers, and other channel organizations.

CompTIA is currently working with some 20 organizations active in the RFID industry to develop a vendor-neutral professional certification that would validates a technician's knowledge and skills in the areas of installation, maintenance, repair, and upkeep of hardware and software functionality of RFID products. CompTIA RFID+ certification is expected to be available later this year or early in 2006.