Case C1. Harley Davidson
Radio frequency identiﬁcation, which uses unpowered microchips to wirelessly transmit encoded information through antennae would provide Harley Davidson and its suppliers the technology needed to perform better supply-chain management. The RFID tags contain encoded information that identiﬁes items at the case, pallet, or container level. The RFID tag is activated only when placed in the transmission ﬁeld of an RFID reader. The information is transmitted automatically so no one needs to unpack or scan individual bar code labels, resulting in improved inventory accuracy with reduced labor costs. In order to use RFID, companies must purchase and apply RFID tags to their products at the pallet, case, or unit level. This can be done effectively using remote RFID printing technology, which allows suppliers to generate RFID tags and apply them to goods before they are shipped. The supplier using RFID tags and advance ship notiﬁcations, allows for scan-free receipt of goods by the customer and provides automatic tracking. Wal-Mart and other large retailers quickly found that the disadvantages of RFID are dead areas, orientation problems, security concerns, ghost tags, unread tags, and proximity issues. RFID works similar to the way a cell phone or wireless network does. Like these technologies, there may be certain areas that have weaker signals or interference. In addition, poor read rates are sometimes a problem when the tag is rotated into an orientation that does not align well with the reader. These issues are usually minimized by proper implementation of multiple readers and use of tags with multiple axis antennas. When companies like Harley Davidson connect online suppliers offering maintenance, repair parts, and operating supplies to businesses with RFID technology; they need to be mindful that the cost may be high at first. However, the total cost of ownership should go down over the years and provide a good return on...
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