Auto-ID: Consumer visibility into the supply chain will become a competitive differentiator

Despite the failures in the 1990s e-business mania, technology continues to change the way business work. Indeed, manufacturing, retail and many service industries are in midst of an information revolution that will extend transparency to the smallest, most granular business events. It’s the product of Auto-ID technologies: radio frequent microchips, each tinier than a grain of sand, that broadcast a unique serial number, like a talking bar code. The most common Auto-ID tool will be the radio frequency identification (RFID) tag. ..

RFID tags aren’t mere passive bar codes; they’re smart and they can talk. Each contains a tiny microcomputer that exchanges information wireless with RFID readers in production lines, trucks, retail stores, homes, and handheld devices. A food item tag at the grocery store could tell your user-friendly personal digital assistant (PDA) about its calorie and cholesterol count (for dieters and diabetics), allergy alerts (e.g. peanuts), organic or genetically modified content, and so on. On the spot, if you wished, you could get a product rating from a trusted adviser, whether a favorite chef, consumer group, or environmental organization. Some growers will use this transparency to differentiate their tomatoes or lamb chops. …

Why would producers and retailers spend money to provide such risky transparency to consumers? Retailers and their suppliers will install Auto-ID to save billions in the supply chain. Once the system is in place, they can hardly deny consumers the transparency that is so readily available. Indeed, consumer visibility into the supply chain will become a competitive differentiator.

Quelle: Don Tapscott: The Naked Corporation. How the Age of Transparency Will Revolutionize Business

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