As the RFID market continues trying to “find its groove,” will the technology join the list of such supply chain efforts as logistics collaboration and rail transport that may be enormously helped by the Green Supply Chain phenomenon?
The answer may be yes, as several environmental initiatives in the supply chain can be well-supported by RFID technology. On the other hand, in some applications, RFID causes some sustainability problems.
How will Green Supply Chain strategies support RFID adoption? Consider some of the following examples:
Reusable Containers: Many closed and open loop supply chains are increasingly looking at reusable containers (totes, pallets, etc.) that can be used for many cycles, rather than just once (corrugate cartons) or have a limited life (wood pallets). However, these reusable containers are, in total, expensive assets that need to be better controlled. RFID has already been adopted by many companies for such asset-tracking purposes, and often, as in the case of British grocer Sainsbury, this tracking infrastructure can then later be used to develop applications for also tracking what is inside those containers.
Vehicle Mile Tracking: Rightly or wrongly, many believe the US will someday consider or implement taxes based on miles driven, beyond just the tax on each gallon of fuel purchased.
Several European countries have already adopted such approaches (although, as yet, without any real impact on miles driven).
An adaptation of this approach is the use of variable taxation, where the cost per miles changes based on time of the day.
This approach could be used at the consumer level, the trucking/freight level, or both.
In either case, it would clearly involve RFID tags on vehicles and readers either along roadways or at exit ramps.
(RFID and Automatic Identification Article - Continued Below)