RFID for the Little Guys

This week Microsoft announced that it intends to become a player in RFID. Part of those plans include providing RFID-enabled software for midsize companies to manage their supply chains.

RFID stands for “radio frequency identification.” It involves placing a chip on items, then transmitting radio frequency signals to track the items and provide information about them. Distributors, warehousers, retailers and transportation companies have jumped on board, implementing RFID at an increasing pace.

Large organizations are leading the way with RFID — organizations like Wal-Mart, Metro Group, Proctor & Gamble, and the U.S. Department of Defense. That’s because RFID is expensive to implement. Larger organizations have the most to gain through automating their supply chains and can therefore justify the expense and effort.

Microsoft aims to bring the power of RFID technology down to tier three and tier four companies. Part of its plan is to RFID-enable the enterprise business applications it owns through its acquisitions of Great Plains and Navision. RFID Journal has a detailed discussion of Microsoft’s RFID strategy here.

Look for it to be years — not months — before small businesses adopt RFID. It will take standardization of RFID technology, reduced prices, and off-the-shelf implementation ease before small businesses can afford it and justify it. But midsize businesses will need to invest in RFID sooner if they want to stay competitive.


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.