Survey: Nearly 37 Percent Of RFID Users Expect Positive ROI Within A Year

A general lack of clear ROI models and data on real-world results has slowed adoption of RFID technology, particularly in open-loop supply chain environments. ROI estimates are critical to RFID purchasing decisions, and in a survey of 185 organizations conducted in mid-2008 by ABI Research, lack of adequate ROI data was the third-highest ranked reason for non-deployment.

“In times of economic slowdown, a quick positive return on investment is especially important to potential RFID users,” said practice director Michael Liard. “We asked the respondents to our survey about their hopes and expectations for ROI on their RFID investments. While a substantial majority saw 12-24 months as a reasonable expectation, more than one third anticipated a return within the first year.”

Less than 12 months -- 36.7 percent.
12-18 months -- 25.0 percent.
18-24 months -- 13.3 percent.
More than 24 months -- 6.7 percent.
Do not know -- 18.3 percent.

These responses included all flavors of RFID deployment: closed- and open-loop across a variety of applications, and at various stages of trials, rollouts, and fully deployed systems.

One of the great problems in formulating useful ROI models and setting goals has been the reluctance of many end-users to share what they have learned.

“It’s tough,” Liard said, “and has been holding parts of the industry back. But somebody who’s getting great results with RFID is often understandably wary of letting competitors know how much more competitive it is making them. But if we want this market to move forward in a recession, we need to start talking about these things as proactively as we can.”

Some RFID projects are still moving forward; others have been delayed by the recession, or put on hold.

“The good thing,” Liard said, “is that we’re not hearing much about cancellations. That’s a positive sign.”

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