Case Study: Harley-Davidson

Business outlets are inculcating technological changes into their systems to reach their partners and consumers. Wal-Mart, a cargo and food handling company, after getting difficulties in handling large volumes of data adopted the Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID). This device is more sensitive than the bar-code systems, as it can sense hidden items.

However, implementing RFID has some challenges, which organizations are facing. In this discussion, I will compare and contrast the issues that faced Wal-Mart to those which Harley-Davidson, a motorcycle manufacturing company, may face when implementing RFID.

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The first comparable challenge is the high installation cost. When Wal-Mart tried to install the RFID, the suppliers opposed the move citing the high cost of obtaining tag readers and other machineries like computer systems to run the program effectively. Similarly, Harley-Davidson Company had problems with its suppliers who dealt in variety of products and with many companies.

To elaborate further, fixing of RFID tag on all products of low prices is expensive in the end. Consequently, the prices of these products like motor vehicle spare parts will increase, thus, lowering sales. Therefore, the technology is beneficial when used on products of high prices.

The next issue is the lack of global data standardization. Unlike bar-codes, the general operation of RFID is at high frequencies, which varies worldwide. Most of these companies opt for RFID of low frequency to minimize on expenses. Each frequency has its own standards of operation, and within the standards, there are numerous versions and different options per version.

This feature will prompt these companies to implement several RFID standards. The lack of a universal standard may make Harley-Davidson experience customers’ rebellion, as there will be lack of trust in their service provision.

On the contrary, as Harley-Davidson standardized all its purchasing procedures to minimize the cost of operations on its suppliers, Wal-Mart did not streamline their purchasing procedures.

Notably, Harley-Davidson will not face the issue of data management since it had adjusted its communication systems; for example, the launches of websites to ensure suppliers get changes in product information at anytime. Further, the portals aided real time communication between the company and the suppliers. RFID requires well-developed information management tools to ensure proper data capture.

The issue of civil liberty and privacy is a barrier to the implementation of this new tracking technology. Since this device can track a product from a given distance, a buyer’s privacy is at risk. Some customers may be unaware of the attachment of RFID on their goods. This act can result to a legal issue in a court of law.

In the case of Harley-Davidson using the product, scenarios of motorcycle theft instances will also be under control. This will also apply to Wal-Mart. In addition, employees’ acceptance at the motorcycle company will also be a thorny issue that may need due attention. The employees could also rebel to the new technology owing to the loss of jobs.

These companies should outline the range of RFID operation so that all their stakeholders are contented with the technological changes. For instance, the devices embedded on cloths should not be used for tracking purposes. The companies should also allow their suppliers to create their own internal RFID that can directly link them to the management of the companies. It is evident that the RFID technology is revolutionizing the world, with its application in the military, healthcare, and other scientific fields.

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