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October 4, 2005 > RFID - Not a bug spray

RFID - Not a bug spray

You did it! Your invention, the Ultimate Widget (UW), has been patented, manufactured and is on the way to thousands of outlets throughout the United States, ultimately heading for world distribution. All you have to do now is sit back and count the money as it comes rolling in.

Everyone has probably had this dream, but the reality following product creation is sobering. The question is how to efficiently manufacture and distribute the UW - a quite different scenario from the easy chair. At the core of this business dilemma is keeping track of the product from component assembly through manufacture, quality control, warehouse, shipping and satisfying future demand.

All along the product trail, the demand is for fast and accurate data. Any glitches can dramatically alter supply, creating inefficiencies and/or shortages. The ultimate solution is to view every part of the process in real time without being swamped by old and inaccurate information.

One of the tools now being integrated into manufacturing and distribution is called Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). This method of tagging raw materials and completed products allows instant identification at any time. Manufacturing inventory updates, tracking of goods, store inventory, anti-counterfeiting measures and warranty service information can become an integral part of the product.

RFID technology has been in use for the last 10 years and is now beginning to make an impressive imprint on manufacturers and distributors. Wal-Mart and Tesco have mandated adoption of RFID for all their suppliers and the European Parliament has announced legislation which requires all goods to be traceable throughout the supply chain. Maritime, military, health care and pharmaceutical applications are well underway as well. This expanding industry is now turning to schools and training organizations to set standards and provide professionals who understand the technology and its applications. RFID is not a "one size fits all" technology so those with extensive training and practical experience will be highly sought by employers.

In recognition of this emerging field of study, DeVry University has announced an agreement between its Center for Corporate Education and RFID Technical Institute, Inc. (RTI), a global education services company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts to offer corporate education and training in RFID. The goal is to offer "high quality courses with workplace relevance to both the private and government sectors," said RTI President Ann Grackin. Instruction will prepare students using vendor neutral work standards and allow documentation of competence.

An initial offering at the DeVry campus is the five day RFID Fundamentals course October 17 - 21. Additional classes will be available on the Fremont campus as well as other DeVry facilities. For more information or to register, please call (877) 784-7343, contact DeVry University in Fremont at (510) 574-1100 or visit

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