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The applicability of radio frequency identification devices to the New Zealand Army : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters in Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Massey University, New Zealand
The purpose of the study was to examine if the application of Radio Frequency
Identification Devices (RFID) to the New Zealand (NZ) Army Supply Chain would
increase the efficiency of the supply chain, improve inventory accuracy and reduce
the workload on the NZ Army Supply Technicians (SupTech). An effective supply
chain is critical to the NZ Army to ensure soldiers have the required items to
perform their roles on operations and during training. Failure to get this right can
prevent the NZ Army from meeting its Government outputs, and worst case can
Due to reduced numbers of trained SupTech, and an increasingly large and
complex inventory, the Sup Tech workload has significantly increased in the last
ten years. This has resulted in the NZ Army Supply chain not being as effective or
efficient as it should be.
New technologies such as RFID could be a way to improve the effectiveness of the
supply chain. RFID is an automatic identification technology that uses radio waves
to identify and track objects in real time. RFID technology is considered to have
great potential to improve the efficiency and accuracy of many processes in the
supply chain by providing detailed information on the flow of the products
throughout the entire chain.
This thesis conducts a comparative case study of the NZ Army Supply Chain and
that of EastPack Ltd, who have recently implemented RFID. Time and cost
analysis is conducted on the main units in the NZ Army and interviews are
conducted with the top SupTech in these units to gauge the efficiency of the NZ
Army supply chain. At EastPack Ltd interviews examine the RFID implementation
decisions and results, and process mapping conducted to determine the efficiency
of their supply chain. The results show that the NZ Army processes are time and labour intensive and
units do not have sufficient SupTech to meet compliance requirements and provide
a good level of support to their customers. EastPack Ltd had similar problems
prior to implementation of RFID but since the technology has been in use they
have had significant improvements in their inventory accuracy, gained savings in
costs and labour and achieved an early ROI from the implementation.
The study finds that while not all of the problems of the NZ Army Supply Chain can
be solved by RFID its implementation would significantly reduce the workload on
Sup Tech and help with the accuracy of the inventory in the NZ Army supply chain
and improve its effectiveness.