IBM to help Defense manage RFID program

IBM Corp.'s Business Consulting Services has won an $8.4 million, three-year contract from the Defense Department to help develop a Radio Frequency Identification Device policy for 43,000 defense suppliers, the company said.

Defense Department suppliers are required to include passive RFID tags on products at the pallet and case level by 2005. The department expects RFID technology to improve data quality, supply management, asset visibility and materiel maintenance.

Under the terms of the contract, IBM will help the Defense Department develop its final RFID policy by June 30 and support policy execution through the department's organizational units.

"The Defense Department is seeking to take advantage of the inherent capabilities of RFID technology to improve business functions and all aspects of the defense supply chain," said William Phillips, partner and defense industry leader at IBM Business Consulting Services.

According to Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM, the company will assist the department in codifying best practices for RFID, developing business rules based on analysis of RFID projects, educating and informing suppliers and executing a change management strategy for the department's units.

In addition, IBM will identify the government's unique RFID requirements and work with industry groups to ensure those requirements are included in future RFID standards. IBM said its RFID laboratory in Gaithersburg, Md., would be used to develop, test and demonstrate RFID standards.

The Defense Department will conduct its 2004 RFID Summit for Industry on April 6-8 in Washington to discuss the proposed new RFID policy. Information about the summit and the department's RFID initiative can be found online at www.dodait.com.

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