RFID for Aviation – Part 2: How do you get more ROI, faster?

RFID systems don’t have to take years to generate a return on investment in aviation applications. By leveraging the technology across multiple applications, airlines, suppliers and manufacturers can quickly generate a positive ROI.

In Part 2 of this RFID for Aviation series, Xerafy takes a look back at how applications for RFID increasingly deliver operational performances to the Aviation industry.

Many companies used to be concerned about exactly how long it will take RFID technology to provide tangible benefits and a positive return on investment (ROI). In fact, some companies still believe that RFID solutions will take many years to provide an opportunity to recoup their costs.

Thankfully, the last few years of implementation in the Aviation industry provide numerous examples of successful RFID deployments with returns to match.

For example, Cessna has used passive RFID to track thousands of tools at a 50,000-square-foot metal shop in Wichita, Kansas, allowing them to locate tools in seconds (generating a significant labor savings). A regional airline in Europe saved millions of Euros per year by tracking engine overhaul processes using durable RFID tags.

At Xerafy, we see a number of Tool Tracking and Management projects, with strong interest from MRO operators as well as airlines. On another project, an aerospace manufacturer wanted to use RFID to track perishable composite materials as they move in and out of freezer storage. As a result, the company was able to reduce waste and scrap of their expensive inventory.

Deploying an RFID system is still a complex undertaking that requires an investment in infrastructure, software, integration, tags, training. But the overall cost of that investment has fallen significantly over the past decade.

Hardware costs (including both tags and readers) for instance are falling, while performance has improved dramatically. That means the ROI timeline in aviation applications has been accelerated.

The ROI of these solutions can be further advanced by using them for multiple operations. In addition to compliance with customer requirements, aviation suppliers can leverage the technology internally for work-in-process (WIP), inventory management, asset tracking, supply chain visibility, and other applications.


RFID can even help address quality issues in automated riveting operations, according to one system supplier quoted in this Assembly magazine article. Expect more compelling use cases soon, as RFID Journal further explores aerospace applications at its Dec. 13 “RFID in Aerospace and Defense” conference in Arlington, VA.

Join the conversation – What drives the ROI of your RFID applications?

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