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Philips partners with IBM on RFID

Posted: 16 Feb 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:royal philips electronics? ibm? smart card? hardware? semiconductor?

Reyanerts: The RFID project is aimed at increasing productivity and efficiency in supply-chain management.

Royal Philips Electronics and IBM Corp. have entered into a partnership in the RFID and smart cards business, with Philips providing the hardware part, while IBM supplies project management, implementation and consultation services.

The alliance will focus RFID solutions on supply-chain management, and retail and asset management. Smart card solutions will be focused on finance, e-government, transportation and event ticketing. To demonstrate this collaboration, IBM will build an RFID system for the semiconductor manufacturing facilities of Philips, specifically in Philips' Kao Hsiung manufacturing site in Taiwan and its distribution center in Hong Kong.

"Our relationship with IBM will mean stronger time-to-market, improved customer confidence levels and the opportunity to leverage each others' brands and expertise," said Scott McGregor, president and CEO of Philips Semiconductors. "To this end, the RFID system in East Asia being built by IBM is a good illustration of Philips adopting the very technology it is driving into the marketplace," McGregor added.

IBM also provides specialized software to enable companies an easy approach to the RFID and smart card implementation. IBM's leadership in such services will provide the companies with a broader scope and feedback from current and potential customers.

The joint project is aimed at using RFID technology in improving the business processes within Philips particularly in the areas of manufacturing and supply-chain management, as well as inventory control.

The first step in the project is to tag wafer cases and carton packages at the Taiwan and Hong Kong facilities. A review will be conducted by the two companies after a 20-week run before implementing the RFID solution in the rest of Philips' manufacturing and supply chain sector.

"The main goals that we will test over those 20 weeks are to improve our productivity and our efficiency in providing services to our customers. We hope to increase flexibility and at the same time be able to lower our overall stock levels," said Jan Willem Reynaerts, general manager of transport and logistics at Philips.

RFIDs can be compared to barcodes, although Philips does not think that RFID will readily replace them. "Barcodes will continue for quite a number of years. In most cases, RFID will become a parallel technology," said Reynaerts.

The test run started in November last year and will go fully live this year. Some of the project's noteworthy accomplishments so far are the definition of the business case, the selection of the vendors and hardware implementation. Project trials are within schedule as well.

- Reden Mateo

Electronics Engineering Times- Asia

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