RFID Technology in Retail

The use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology among retailers is increasing. RFID chips emit radio signals: When attached to products, they allow retailers to track inventory with a precision never before possible. More efficient supply chains and more effective inventory management are current benefits of the technology. In the past retailers always seemed to order products from vendors in quantities either too large or too small, and they could never be quite sure when they would run out of a given product. Today, thanks to RFID, retailers are able to pinpoint inventory levels for given products and order products from vendors only when they're really needed. And eventually, retailers plan to use RFID technology to do things such as transmit product information for consumers to view as they walk around a store and change the prices of products already on the shelves instantaneously.

Wal-Mart has already made a big investment in RFID technology and has forced vendors on its supply chain, including big consumer products manufacturers, to use the technology on shipments to the giant retailer. It's just a matter of time before everybody else in retail is using it, too. If you're an IT type, or a supply chain management or logistics professional, it might be a good idea to get up to speed on this technology to improve your career prospects.
- Contributed by Nithin Narayanan