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Achieving supply chain integration using RFID technology: The case of emerging intelligent B-to-B e-commerce processes in a living laboratory

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ Despite the high operational and strategic potentials of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, very few studies have been conducted about its role as enabler of supply chain integration to achieve high-level operational efficiency. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to be an initial effort towards bridging the existing knowledge gap in the literature. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This exploratory research was conducted in one retail supply chain. A multi-method approach combining a longitudinal real-life case study and a methodology integrating several steps, including a "living laboratory" strategy was used and involved all members of a product line to analyze their contributing activities and their interface with other supply chain members; the aim being to explore the impact of RFID technology on inter-and intra-organizational processes and information systems. Findings ‐ The results provide support to the role of RFID as enabler of better integration of timeliness and accuracy data flows into information systems, business process optimization through automation, better system-to-system communication and better inter-and-intra-organizational business process integration. Furthermore, they also validate the unique characteristics of RFID technology such as enabler of real-time multiple tags items data collection and exchange within the supply chain and the read-and-write capability that may help, for example, to reuse some RFID tags within the supply chain and therefore reduce the cost related to the purchase of the said RFID tags. Finally, the study also reveals the importance of business process renovation and complementary investments during the adoption of RFID technology, in order to achieve high level of business value from the technology. Originality/value ‐ The paper is original in the sense that it provides some empirical support for the enabling role of RFID technology in allowing supply chain integration.

Keywords: Business process integration; Electronic commerce; Living laboratory; Organizational processes; Proof of concept; RFID technology; Radio frequency identification; Retail industry; Supply chain integration; Supply chain management

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14637151211215019

Publication date: February 3, 2012

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