Development of an RFID-based traceability system: Experiences and lessons learned from an aircraft engineering company

Wai Ting Ngai, Edwin Tai Chiu Cheng, Kee Hung Lai, P. Y.F. Chai, Y. S. Choi, R. K.Y. Sin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a case study of the research and development of an RFID-based traceability system in an aircraft engineering company in Hong Kong. We report the system design and implementation, and discuss our experiences and lessons learned. The aim of the RFID system is to effectively support the tracking and tracing of aeroplane repairable items in the company. The study reveals eight critical success factors for the successful implementation of RFID systems, namely, create strong internal and external motivation for improvement, stir up desire to keep abreast of the latest technology for global competitiveness, strive for cross organizational implementation, avoid major process changes/limit process changes, start with a small RFID project scope, facilitate equipment vendor's investment, use cost-effectiveness reusable tags, and transfer RFID skills and knowledge from university to industry. We also summarize 13 lessons learned, including three lessons concerning RFID implementation at strategic level, six lessons at management level, and four lessons at operational level resulting from carrying out this project. Given the contextual details of the study, the lessons learned can help other firms to better anticipate the hurdles they will experience, and make them aware of the possible ways to cope with such difficulties before embarking on the journey of RFID implementation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-568
Number of pages15
JournalProduction and Operations Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2007


  • Case study
  • Critical success factors
  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
  • Traceability system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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