Implementation of RFID Tracking across the Entire Supply Chain

Ville Hinkka

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


The use of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tracking to improve the supply chain management (SCM) of today’s complex and geographically dispersed supply networks has been highlighted in the past 10 years. Even if the use of RFID technology to smooth certain supply chain operations has grown rapidly, the number of supply chain-wide tracking systems, which would be highly integrated with the operations across the whole supply chain, has remained low. The aim of this thesis is threefold. First, it aims to study the context in which companies operate to thus understand their tracking needs in ever-changing operational environments. Second, the thesis develops the means to define the most suitable coverage for the tracking system for particular supply chains, and third, the thesis proposes three different mechanisms to implement supply chain-wide RFID tracking systems. The material for this dissertation was obtained by six different case studies, all which analysed RFID tracking implementation in certain supply networks. The analysis focused on considering different supply chain actors’ viewpoints for common RFID tracking system adoptions to align the incentives of different actors. Mixed methods research, by combining quantitative analysis to multiple, different qualitative data collection methods, was used to research this complex and dynamic SCM phenomenon. The results of this thesis indicate that improved tracking would help companies develop their SCMs to better respond to the requirements of their operational environments. SCM concepts of postponement and speculation could be used to evaluate the trade-offs between the resources needed to implement wide-spanning tracking with benefits that the wider coverage would offer. Finally, this thesis proposes three different mechanisms to realise supply chainwide RFID tracking: “retailer as an initiator”, “wholesaler as an initiator”, and “tracking provided by a logistics service provider company”. The characteristics of the supply chain greatly inform the selection of the most suitable mechanism.
Translated title of the contributionToimitusketjun laajuisen RFID-seurannan käyttöönotto
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Tanskanen, Kari, Supervising Professor
  • Holmström, Jan, Thesis Advisor
  • Främling, Kary, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-5310-3
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-5311-0
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • tracking
  • supply chain management (SCM)
  • supply chain integration
  • inter-organisational information systems (IOIS)
  • design science
  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)


Dive into the research topics of 'Implementation of RFID Tracking across the Entire Supply Chain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this