Where does your company stand with RFID technology?

John G. Swanson
July 11, 2007
THE TALK...
The Talk, Page 2...

Survey Results for 07/11/2007:

Where does your company stand with RFID technology?

We don't see it helping us in the near future.

 

 

43%

 

We're actively looking to implement it now.

 

 

25%

 

We're already using it.

 

 

19%

 

We'll be using it within the next few years.

 

 

13%

 

 Tracking products with RFID (radio frequency identification) is nothing new in a lot of industries, and we all know it’s progressing in the world, but generally when I’ve asked manufacturers and suppliers whether it’s coming our way, I’ve heard “The window and door industry is still a few years away.”

So when I heard a talk from an RFID label producer at the FeneTech Users Conference a couple weeks ago (click here for story), and heard manufacturer enthusiasm about what she had to say, I decided maybe it was time to check back on the subject. So, our poll last week asked, “Where does your company stand with RFID technology?”

Based on what I’ve heard over the years, I can’t say I’m surprised that 43 percent of respondents voted, “We don’t see it helping us in the near future”. It was interesting to me, however, that the overall majority said their companies are using it or plan to use it in the near future.

Close to 20 percent indicated their companies are using RFID in some way already, and one quarter said their companies are actively looking to implement such systems now.

RFID helps speed tracking and increase accuracy, according to its promoters. I heard from one window manufacturer that’s implemented RFID, and he suggests that’s true for his company.

“We have implemented an automated window and door manufacturing software package here at Moduline and it has been working very well for a year now,” reports Kip Spencer of Moduline Window Systems in Wausau, WI. “The software package is really a total ERM solution with inherent RFID components. We have saved approximately 30 percent of our internal processing costs for engineered to order jobs that are in the $2 million to $20 million range.”

Citing further benefits, he continues, “This platform has also enabled us to launch a rapid delivery program for standard window and door product lines, offering our customers reduced lead times and cost effective pricing below that of our competitors.”

RFID systems targeted specifically at our industry are still few and far between, I suspect, but there are no doubt some companies trying “off the shelf” solutions and larger players in the field using custom systems. I suspect RFID systems will become more common too, with traditional industry suppliers looking to enhance their current offerings with RFID capabilities and outside suppliers also finding opportunities in our market.

It’s a technology that bears watching. “Those who are not ahead of this technology curve may find it hard to experience growth or compete in the commercial window and door market in the very near future,” says Spencer. That may be true in the residential business too.

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