New RFID classes combat knowledge drought

By Anita Awbi

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Rfid, Supply chain management

IT training body CompTIA has launched a new entry-level
qualification for staff working with radio frequency classification
(RFID), as looming shortfalls in trained staff look likely to hold
back food industry RFID application.

Analysts predict demand for RFID skills are set to soar, as European retail giants and global suppliers gear up to introduce comprehensive wireless tagging systems in their supply and retail chains.

CompTIA director of communications told FoodandDrinkEurope.com​: "We did some research in 2005 and found that there is a definite feeling that demand for these skills is greater than supply - clearly there is a shortfall.

"Anecdotally people say they have the RFID skills but are learning on the job. And we found those that do have proven skills are commanding much higher wages than those who don't,"​ he added.

The exam can be used to assess employee knowledge and skill in working with RFID, and is intended for people with between six and 24 months of experience in the sector.

Individuals completing the course will be awarded CompTIA RFID+ certification.

RFID is still in its early years, but looks set to take off in the coming months, as companies seek a wireless, homogenised stock management system.

Currently 80 per cent of European manufacturers are focusing on electronic pallet-tagging, with 5.1 per cent of companies implementing RFID strategies last year and another 12.5 per cent piloting the technology, according to research group IDC.

IDC program manager Ivano Ortis said: "Although RFID is not a new technology in the strict sense of the term, industrial real-life applications of this technology are still at its early stage. I do believe there is a shortfall of RFID application expertise in diverse environments that may affect radio/reading performances."

Which may in turn hinder successful rollout of the new technology.

"In my opinion RFID professionals will need to adhere and keep up to date with standard releases, implementation and process re-engineering best practices. Therefore a standardised certification of RFID skills would be an additional enabler to streamline the adoption process,"​ he added.

RFID, which is currently too expensive to use on individual products, would solve many supply chain problems, from visibility, automatic recording of inbound stock, and improved identification and retrieval of stock in supermarkets and warehouses - making the whole process more efficient.

European companies currently trialing the technology include; Tesco, Metro, Ahold, Carrefour and Marks and Spencers.

And in the US, retail giant Wal-Mart now insists that all its suppliers use the RFID system.

Related topics: Market Trends

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