Practitioners can agree that the RFID technology has the potential of increasing the automotive industry’s efficiency as well as the transparency. There has been a lack of data standards in the automotive industry thereby resulting in RFID’s limited adoption in this industry and its diffusion in the cross-company environments. Presently, the Automotive Industry Action Group is reviewing the B-11 standard for the purpose of producing a standard that is in line with the automotive industry requirements. The first results of the AIAG are applied in this paper to a real life project environment, and then the existing RFID standards in the automotive industry are extended. There are also recommendations that are made to derive the suitable data structure for the forwards as well as the perverse logistics, thus contributing to the ongoing discussion on standardization.
Standardization of Data in the Automotive Industry
The issue of standardization has been considered to be one of the primary implementation barriers for the adoption of the RFID Technology in the Automotive Industry (Schmitt, Thiesse, & Fleisch, 2007). According to the Organization for Economic and Cooperation and Development, the discussion on the EPC standard has lead to the disintegration of the automotive industry into two portions. The automotive industry is, however, working with the international partners so as to come up with a standard that meets the needs of this industry. However, the industry humbles to prefer the adoption of the adoption of the ISO standards as compared to the EPC standard. Many automotive companies have adopted the existing standards including the proprietary solutions son as to help them have ensured better management of their assets.
The arguments that have been put forward in the automotive RFID standardization discussion are majorly based on distinctive approaches towards the organization of data. There are ISO/ IEC 15459 standard that is used for unique identifiers and the ISO/ IEC 15962/63 that governs the Item Management (specific unique identifiers) for the organization of user data. These standards are said to represent a strictly centralized approach to the management and organization of data. They only have a single unique identifier in storage on the RFID tags whereas all the other object as well as the process related data is in storage in the centralized network (also known as data-on-network) (Jones &; Chung, 2008). It has been claimed that a more generic approach is the requirement to turn those standards or introduce new ones that can have a cross-industry application.
ISO embraces a generic technology independent strategy to RFID standardization. Depending on the application requirements, the ISO standards support the storage of more data on the RFID tag (also known as data-on-tag). There ISO 15961/15962 standards, for instance, were created to offer a standardized means of reading the data stored on the RFID tags. Both the data-on-network and the data-on-tag concepts have some disadvantages and disadvantages. These approaches are also complementary and not mutually exclusive. The selection of which approach to implement, whether data-on-tag or data-on-network, depends on the existing processes and IT infrastructure that are to be supported (Schmidt & Ziemba, 2010).
As stated earlier, the ISO RFID standards for the automotive industry are defined on a generic level, and they focus on the air interface. The ISO standards cover specific areas such as the technology (e.g. The ISO 18000 series and the air interface standards), application standards (example the ISO 10374), conformance and performance (example, the ISO 18046) and data content (example, ISO 15418). Thus, it can be said that the ISO standards are application independent on the processes as well as the industry-specific content. However, the RPCglobal is also anxious to submit its RFID standards on the automotive industry to the ISO for approval with the aim of conforming to the IEC and the ISO approaches. For instance, the EPC Gen 2 RFID standard governing the UHF air interface corresponds to the 18000-6C standard of ISO.
In the year 2006, a group is known as the Automotive Industry Action (AIAG) a consortium of automotive companies involved in the development of supply chain standards came up with a B-11 standard for the level tire tagging (Schmitt, Michahelles, & Fleisch, 2008). The standard is based on the ISO’s data-on-tag approach. That standard allows for the storage of additional information on the tag including tire cure date, country of origin, and global location number. In the year 2008, the Germany Association concerned with the governance of the automotive industry (VDA) outlined the recommendations for returnable transport items (i.e., VDA 5501), components/parts (i.e., VDA 5510), and RFID for vehicle distribution (i.e., VDA 5020) (Domdouzis, Kumar, & Anumba, 2007). The above three documents argue from the perspective of the processes and thy reference the ISO approaches for data organization.
The B-11 standard is being revised, and the ongoing revision 8 proposes a data organization format on the tag that allows both the centralized as well as the decentralized data storage approaches. The basis of the B-11 is the ISO 1800-6C, or the EPC Gen2 and wit utilizes bit flags to differentiate the EPC from ISO data and to show if additional user memory is leveraged or not. VDA recommends that the RFID tags ought to be comprised of a Unique Item Identifier Memory Bank for reasons of identification and an additional User Memory for storage of application data. ISO/IEC 15962 is applied as well as the ISO 1736x data syntax, and it is based on the data identifiers that are specified within the relevant EPC or ISO/IEC data syntax standards (Domdouzis, Kumar, & Anumba, 2007). The AIAG standard has a major advantage, and that is, it has resolved the former controversy by applying both the EPC and the ISIO approaches towards the organization of data.
It is worth noting that even though the current standards and recommendations do build a strong foundation for the RFID implementation, the collaborating organizations are yet to come to a consensus concerning the RFID data structures that should be adopted to offer essential information required in the automotive industry processes.
While the RFID technology has been applied in various industries, the automotive industry has also not been left behind the adoption although their lacks commonly agreed on standards to govern its application. With the ongoing AIAG B-11 discussions, I recommend the improvement of the B-11 by including the specific strengths of the EPC and the ISO instead of merely enabling a pure co-existence. There should be the application of additional filter aimed at ensuring faster filter as well as a flag so as to distinguish between the various tags attached to a single RTI.
Schmitt, P., Thiesse, F., & Fleisch, E. (2007). Adoption and diffusion of RFID technology in the automotive industry. Auto-ID Labs White Paper# WP-BIZAPP-041.
Jones, E. C., & Chung, C. A. (2007). RFID in logistics: a practical introduction. CRC press.
Schmitt, P., Michahelles, F., & Fleisch, E. (2008). Why RFID adoption and diffusion takes time: The role of standards in the automotive industry. Auto-ID Labs, 1-19.
Domdouzis, K., Kumar, B., & Anumba, C. (2007). Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) applications: A brief introduction. Advanced Engineering Informatics, 21(4), 350-355.
Schmidt, M., & Ziemba, H. W. (2010, February). RFID in the Automotive Industry-A Standard Based Approach Towards On-Tag Data Sharing in Cross-Company Logistics. In MMS (pp. 167-173).