If you're a supplier to Wal-Mart, the Department of Defense, or any of the other 800-pound gorillas demanding that you buy into their radio frequency identification (RFID) vision of the future, you're probably grumbling as you read this. You have lots of company in the supplier community, and you all share a conundrum: "Yeah, I need these gorillas' business, but can I afford it?"
Wrong question. You should be asking "How can I make RFID work for my company?" It won't work if you don't prepare your information systems for it. Slap and ship won't get you far as customer RFID mandates multiply. Early RFID pilots have already shown how difficult it is right now to play in the consumer goods, pharmaceutical and military supply chains all at once. Part of that is because the standards are still in flux, and part of it is because AIDC technologies, whether bar code or RFID, generate an unprecedented amount of information that legacy systems can't easily handle. It's time for you to get in on the discussion.