Study: RFID Will Eliminate Four Million Jobs
By George Anderson
The Good News: A study by the Yankee Group says the implementation of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology will greatly improve supply chain efficiency.
The Bad News: The same research says four million jobs in the U.S. will be lost in the process.
The It Might Not Be So Bad News: Many, but not all, of the four million jobs lost will be replaced by new ones created with the implementation of the technology.
As Yankee analyst Adam Zawel sees it, “Nothing is going to happen overnight, but there’s 4 million people who carry around barcode scanning devices today, and that function is going to change and ultimately be eliminated as RFID is introduced into the market. But it will take a decade or more before the move from barcodes to RFID is complete.”
“Overall, the idea is to have these (RFID) operations take place without a lot of human intervention,” he said. “The migration, however, may be slow enough that it won’t disrupt labor significantly.”
Moderator’s Comment: How will RFID technology affect how companies utilize employees at retail? Is the “jobs” question
something companies will need to address (like the privacy issue) in selling the technology to the public?
If Wal-Mart wasn’t leading the RFID charge, the “jobs” issue would probably be able to be addressed with less emotion and more logic. Somehow though, we
doubt the retailer having even fewer associates making below-poverty level wages is going to play well in the media. –
George Anderson – Moderator