A&D Companies Look to RFID for Improved Supply Chain Visibility

Radio frequency identification technology growing in popularity for supply chain and asset management applications in aerospace and defense market, ABI reports

New York — March 30, 2007 — The aerospace and defense (A&D) industry is always on the move and changing. Technologies and processes that worked yesterday might not work today. That is why A&D companies are constantly seeking better ways to manage complexity, cut costs and boost productivity.

Enter RFID technology. There are scores of supply chain and asset management applications where RFID is being used, tested and deployed to solve real-world business problems within A&D markets. A multitude of recent announcements from the likes of the U.S. and allied militaries, Boeing, Airbus and NASA bear witness to the technology's growing popularity, according to a new report from ABI Research.

"RFID has the strategic potential to help A&D companies improve supply chain visibility as well as asset management and optimization," said Michael Liard, the firm's RFID research director. "However, it must be noted that RFID is not a stand-alone panacea for all business problems."

Liard explained that ABI Research believes the integration of bar code, passive and active RFID, GPS, Wi-Fi, cellular and sensors is increasingly required to provide a holistic view of the sophisticated and dynamic A&D vertical market.

In its report, "The RFID Aerospace and Defense Market," ABI sums up the current state of RFID in the A&D industry as follows:

  • Supply-chain mandate-compliance remains a leading industry driver as A&D supply chain partners work to satisfy the U.S. Department of Defense's RFID requirements.

  • Boeing, Airbus and other industry influencers are actively pursuing asset-based RFID applications, including solutions for returnable and reusable asset management and spare parts tracking and authentication.

  • Standards focus has predominantly been on low-cost passive UHF solutions and off-network RFID data; however, ISO 18000-7 is also garnering increased attention as a technology standard for active-based RFID solutions.

The initial focus for A& D RFID will be on enhanced visibility, ABI projects. But, in the future, it will be used in conjunction with sensor technology to authenticate and monitor objects, assets or items in real time. ABI expects that semi-active/semi-passive solutions will play a key role here.

ABI study provides an assessment of the opportunities and business benefits of RFID in A&D markets, identifying the key business operation, technology and industry issues challenging the A&D industry and assessing how RFID is seen as an enabling technology.