The difficulty is to determine the right time

March 28, 2012 12:00 AM
 The difficulty is to determine the right time

Tests and pilot RFID multiply, more or less in sly, in large providers, shippers and distributors. All experts expect this major innovation a revolution at all levels of the logistics. But this expectation does not prevent a healthy skepticism and relative caution. "This innovation is still seeking his way and waits for the production of chips for consumer units", considers, for example, Jean-Christophe Machet, co-Chair of FM Logistic, who admits at the same time work for three months on a pilot in the agri-food sector. On the occasion of the Salon RFID 2006 in Lille last November, Arnaud Mulliez, Chairman of Auchan France, believed that "in the abundant communication on the subject, it is difficult to distinguish between experimentation and what can actually be deployed on a large scale with the good economic equation".

The enthusiasm is also measured in Nicolas Gellé, Director of the pole industry cabinet Valtech Axelboss, for which "the RFID is still very focused on media handling through movements in closed loops, for example between warehouses and stores." In this very technical offer, believe, the engine will be the client or the loader that are still often wait. "Philippe Dornier, CEO of Newton Vaureal Consulting, which has contributed, with Alcom Consulting in September to develop a"strategic panorama"the issue for the Ministry of economy and finance, summarizes the State of mind of professionals:"the implementation of RFID will be much longer that what specialists thought five years ago."

Several brakes

The report highlights several brakes to widespread RFID deployment. The palpable are those related to the technical performance of the bullets, who face such as the parasitic reflections or interference to the radio broadcasts in a dense environment of close readers. Technical solutions exist but incur additional costs. The economic brake is still very present, not only because of the cost of the "tag", which must still much lower to touch the consumer products, but mainly because the return on investment of all of the RFID system, which includes all the tools for harvesting and processing data (chips representing only 10 to 15 of the total cost).

Is also to address the issue of security of the data, which can be read clandestinely, deleted, altered, or rewritten. Ditto for the psychological brakes, who associate this new technology with Big Brother and a fear of the traceability of the objects to a traceability of the people. There are also environmental brakes since the electronic tags will spread in the nature of new pollutants (copper, silver, glues) and that studies are still underway to determine the impact of the electromagnetic environment on health. It remains finally to blow up the latest regulatory and normative brakes as the opening of the UHF band, conducted in September in France, but is not yet in many European countries.

Denis Lemoine Cabinet Referis goes further by highlighting the difficulty of collaboration between actors of a spinneret. "That RFID implanted in a supply chain, must be that all actors are in agreement, but it is unclear who will take the first, he said." As previously when he had to develop the bar code, reports of forces create deadlock situations. Each returns the ball, especially in a competitive context very.

End of 2006, GS1 France published a report of tests with a dozen companies his laboratory EPCglobal, which believes that a "multitude of logistics applications of RFID are now realistic" and concludes: "A stay in a position of passive standby and require always cheaper and more efficient technology, companies are likely to let their competitors of the key benefits." The difficulty is to determine the right time.