RFID in Manufacturing: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


This paper presents a systems approach to radio frequency identification (RFID) deployment in network-centric manufacturing environments, which can be defined as a “dynamic network of self-organizing, autonomous assets and entities that operate, collaborate, cooperate, and compete upon basic principles of decentralization, participation, and coordination through rich information exchange.” Two fundamental perspectives are highlighted: (1) RFID data-based decision making on the shop floor and(2) communications infrastructure necessary to provide seamless data and information flow to support decision making. Three RFID applications, including a dock door, inventory control, and shop floor control, are presented along with the impact of RFID data on decision making. Through these applications, this study shows that the success of RFID applications depend on how well the RFID data-based decision-making model fits the application domain and how well it is integrated with the scheduling schemes implemented at the networking and communications layer. It also highlights the fact that without tackling these issues in an integrated manner, no viable solution can be developed. Unlike typical articles in the literature, which solely highlight the potential advantages of RFID technologies, this article aims to provide an overview on the basic challenges of deploying RFID systems in manufacturing. Technical issues and research challenges are also discussed.

Meeting Name

18th Annual Conference of the Production and Operations Management Society (2007: May 4-7, Fairmont Hotel, Dallas, TX)


Electrical and Computer Engineering


Air Force Research Laboratory (Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio)

Keywords and Phrases

Dock Door; Inventory Control; Manufacturing; Radio Frequency Identification (RFID); Shop Floor Control

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2007 Production and Operations Management Society, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2007