This paper discusses two articles from different sources, comparing them in terms of their content, the technology, and the management aspect is discussed in the articles to highlight what different types of technologies are being used to aid management and how. The articles that have been elected from this critique were published in 2008 and are based on the use of RFID technology to manage customer relations, the supply chain, and a tool for marketing.
Then the first article selected is “Privacy advocates have beef with retailer microchips” by Todd Lewis. The article criticizes the use of RFID technology by companies for managing their operations as well as managing long-term relationships with customers. The article provides a detailed analysis and criticism of the RFID technology, discussing in detail how this technology which is increasingly being used by organizations, may seemingly be beneficial for businesses by allowing them to track their products, shipments, and customer purchases. On the other hand, this technology may be used for tracking consumers and their behavior patterns. The future of the RFID is portrayed as a world of microchip-based coded products which will enable the companies to monitor the consumers’ consumption choices and patterns which can be further employed by the companies to specifically target them for new products and marketing campaigns. The issue of the invasion of privacy is also presented which can be caused due to the extensive use of RFID technology for monitoring the behavior of individuals.
The second article selected is by Alan Field titled ‘Tag, You Are It.’. The article was published in a trade journal/ trade magazine called The Florida Shipper. The article discusses the benefits and the uses of RFID technology. The article provides how the RFID technology can be used by the logistics and the shipping companies to manage their operations pertaining to logistics, inventory, warehouse operations, and retail operations as well as tracking the purchase behavior of the customers. Overall the author believes that the benefits of RFID outweigh the drawbacks.
Although both the articles are related to RFID the viewpoints of both authors vary visibly about the importance and benefits of this new cutting edge technology. On one hand, both the articles detail how RFID technology can be used by retailers to track the purchase behavior and consumption pattern of the individual’s customers. However, the first article is more concerned about the privacy issue and how business organizations will be entering into the consumers’ homes through the use of these specialized chips tracking individual customer behavior patterns can be considered as an invasion of their rights towards personal privacy. The second article is more positive with a discussion based on RFID technology and presents how businesses and companies can use this technology to manage their operations while reducing costs and wastage and making their operations more efficient.
The main issue that comes out from both the article is that RFID is not a limited instrument which can be used to manage the supply chain. Both the articles show that RFID has a very broad and far-reaching in fact revolutionary potential for businesses. This is my belief can change the whole concept of marketing and consumer behavior. Through these chips, companies will be able to keep track of their consumers and their changing behavior patterns and it may not just be limited to retailers.
However as the first article points out very clearly, there are several very important moral and ethical issues related to the use of this technology. As long as RFID is used to manage the supply chain it seems fines, however, when one imagines everything that is bought brings a tracker with it, the whole idea seems quite bizarre because the information from RFID will be used by organizations without the consumer knowing about it.
Even today RFID is in its evolutionary phase and as the second article mentions it is just the beginning. I believe that there is a need to evaluate the various functions of this technology as it shows a lot of promise for businesses but, when the issue of individual privacy is at stake steps have to be taken first to ensure that whatever new technology is adopted it does not infringe on individuals’ right to privacy. The RFID technology does present extensive avenues for operations, marketing as well as a different method with which the operations of a company can be monitored and managed. However use of technology to monitor lives, behavior patterns, as well as consumption by the customers, can lead to privacy issues.
Therefore there is a need today on part of the regulatory authorities to determine the parameters within which such devices can be used as businesses can not be allowed to use these devices in such a way that may invade people’s privacy.
Field, A.M., 2008, Tag, you’re it!, The Florida Shipper, Commonwealth Business Media. All rights reserved.
Lewan, T., 2008, Privacy advocates have beef with retailer microchips, Charleston Gazette, P13A.