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THE ANALYSIS OF RFID SYSTEM IMPLEMENTATION BY DIFFUSION OF ...

  1. 1. THE ANALYSIS OF RFID SYSTEM IMPLEMENTATION BY DIFFUSION OF INNOVATION THEORY Iuan-Yuan Lu 1, Che-Hung Lin2,Hou-Hung Wei 3, Ming-Chih Chang 4 1 Vice Chairperson of Asia Network for Quality Professor, Institute of Business Administration,National Sun Yat-Sen University No.70, Lien-Hai Road, Kaohsiung 804, Taiwan, R.O.C iylu@bm.nsysu.edu.tw 2 Assiciate Professor, Department of Information Management,Cheng Shiu University No.840, Chengcing Road,Niaosong Township, KaohsiungCounty, 833, Taiwan, R.O.C 3 Ph D, Student, Institute of Business Administration, National Sun Yat-Sen University No.70, Lien-Hai Road, Kaohsiung 804, Taiwan, R.O.C 4 MBA, Student, Institute of Business Administration, National Sun Yat-Sen University No.70, Lien-Hai Road, Kaohsiung 804, Taiwan, R.O.C ABSTRACT In recently years, RFID system has been developed rapidly and it is one of the ten most important technologies in this century. Our government (Taiwan) and the manufacture industries both are actively and positively promoting RFID system to enhance immediate reactions of corporate distribution & logistic system, and further improving the corporate operation efficiency and corporate competitive competences. In this study, we use Everett M. Rogers’s (1962) Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) Theory as our framework, with individualized case study such as torpedo car system of steel plant discussing RFID system’s five stages of its implementation process. The five stages are agenda setting, matching, redefining/restructuring, clarifying and routinization. These are the consideration items and evaluation standards when implement RFID system. We research RFID system on its impact in organizational structure and culture, and further compare the impact of adoptive RFID system enterprises and existing resources. We summarized our research findings as following 1.Large-scale and solid financial enterprises usually take the initiative to collect information and understanding the innovative technologies such as the RFID system. If the technology can be widely applied in the company and bring greater benefits, the employees within the company will propose recommended plans. Therefore, usually early adopters of such technology are big firm companies. 2. Enterprises whom are considering implementing this innovative technology like RFID system, the first focus is its future benefit, followed by the costs and the other factors; if the assessments revealed that can significantly enhance corporate performance, even in the absence of precedent for reference, the enterprises will still try to implement and use this technology. 3. Because the use of innovative technology companies usually lack of precedent and experience for reference, therefore before they adopted, they will survey related examples and will compare the current operation status to improve the efficiency of the forecast evaluation. In the initial stage of introduce innovative technology for a company, increasing corporate performance brought by technology usually remains in forecast period and hard to specify prediction. Key words: Diffusion of Innovation, RFID, Steel plant, Torpedo car INTRODUCTION In recently years, RFID system has been developed rapidly and it is one of the ten most important technologies in this century. Our government (Taiwan) and the manufacture industries both are actively and positively promoting RFID system to enhance immediate reactions of corporate distribution & 14
  2. 2. logistic system, and further improving the corporate operation efficiency and corporate competitive competences. RFID incorporates inventory, shipping, receiving and picking capabilities into one system. It enables queries, reports and bar code labeling, along with scalable database applications and batched orders management among other features. According to ABI research of 1st quarterly publication in 2007, the global market for RFID are 3.812 billion dollars in 2006, in which Asia Pacific Zone is the biggest market place, the scale is reach 1.407 billion dollars. The forecasts of global market scale will increase to 5.1 and 6.388 billion dollars in 2007 and 2008 and furthermore than 11.5 billion dollars in 2011. It is a highly growth market. In Taiwan, the sharing of output value of Tag in RFID is the biggest as 39% in 2007 from MIC research; Second is Reader, the sharing rate is about 31%, and service is about 21%. MIC forecasts the output value of RFID tags are still the main growing indicators in RFID market and the sharing rate would be 46% in 2010. Facing the trend of development and innovational application of global RFID technology, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Science and Technology Advisory Group (STAG) of Executive Yuan, R.O.C in Taiwan promote the “RFID application of public field and promoting office” and issue the plans of leading application in living and safety of public, safety of trading way, travel and transportation of air- flight, circulation safety of food, and healthy and medical applications in 27th-Feb 2006. Therefore RFID becomes a sensation around the fields and industries and the reasons to be a star of tomorrow is not only a characteristic of non-contacting identification, but also the widely applications of this new technology and supported by adopters and users in different fields. However the key points of adopting new technology are whether the applications suitable for reach missions or targets in corporation. The different fitting levels between the technology and missions are most causes of the different attributions of industrial models (Goodhue & Thompson, 1995). In order to evaluate the adoption of system owners and end users from perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use and continue to use by understanding the application status of RFID and which served customers after analyzed the fitting level of RFID between technology and corporation. Rely on the implementation process and the needs resources of RFID system from corporation to understand what kinds of industrial attributions are suitable for implementation and how to implement efficiently to user in adopting and reach the optimal synergy of corporation and advantageous for long term integration and master plan of country. These are the consideration items and evaluation standards when implement RFID system. We research RFID system on its impact in organizational structure and culture, and further compare the impacts of adoptive RFID system enterprises and existing resources. On one hand, summarize the Diffusion of Innovation(DOI)theory and construct the framework for study, and the other hand we use case study to research what kinds of basic resources to be ready for implement RFID system in industry from interaction of human, organization and technology to understand the process of practice for long term operation and development. Furthermore, construct the setting technology diffusion process of RFID system from implement to acceptation for reference in academic and industrial practices. LITERATURE REVIEW RFID System and Application RFID provides a non-contact, non-line-of-sight ability to gather real-time data and can penetrate most non-materials. The basic elements of RFID include three components, Antenna, Transponder (ID tag) and Interrogator. At the basic level, a RFID tag contains a tiny transponder and antenna that have a unique number or alphanumeric sequence; the tag responds to signals received from an interrogator’s antenna and transmits its number back to the interrogator. While the tags themselves are relatively simple, they allow the development tracking software that can maintain much better inventory information than just relying on human entry of identification information as Figure 1 showed. 14
  3. 3. RFID tags come in three general varieties: passive, active, or semi-passive (also known as battery- assisted). Passive tags require no internal power source, thus being pure passive devices (they are only active when a reader is nearby to power them), whereas semi-passive and active tags require a power source, usually a small battery. Passive RFID tags have no internal power supply and have shorter transmission distance (<3 meters). The minute electrical current induced in the antenna by the incoming radio frequency signal provides just enough power for the CMOS integrated circuit in the tag to power up and transmit a response. Most passive tags signal by backscattering the carrier wave from the reader and could have reduced tag costs dramatically. Unlike passive RFID tags, active RFID tags have their own internal power source, which is used to power the integrated circuit and to broadcast the response signal to the reader. Communications from active tags to readers are typically much more reliable (i.e. fewer errors) than from passive tags due to the ability for active tags to conduct a “session” with a reader and longer transmission distance (>100 meters). Identification AC continuous wave RFID Reader Antenna Code identify Interrogator (Chip) In applications, RFID systems Figuredifferent choices of reading and/or writing tags combine with have 1 - RFID operational principle using different requests and risk/secret levels. Read-only tags are preset to a specific number and retained Data source:“Radio Frequency Identification White Paper”2001, p.3 that information throughout their life, whereas read/write tags can actually be written to by an appropriate read/write device. Writeable tags are particularly useful when information about an item needs to be easily associated with another item, particularly if there might be a problem with access to the database that would associate a read-only number with an item’s information. Writeable tags are also useful in creating information redundancy within an inventory system, maintaining information about an asset that is physically separate from the main database. Innovation For corporation, new meanings objects related with company continue to be improved in the corner of the world. Innovation is a process of operation and to have a least new object implemented into a linkage of PMTO. Therefore, innovation is a concept, a policy and an object of hardware or software that never seen or newer than current. Innovation is also a construction, a process, and real objects or invisible services. If we think that is an activity that includes the creation, media and acceptation of new objects. Rogers (1962) indicated innovation is someone or some unit that adopted a new interval technology or real objects. Aiken & Hage (1966) said innovation is a concept was first adopted in internal company. Rogers (1995) proposed DOI theory and identified innovation are an idea, practices, or objects that is perceived as knew by an individual or other unit of adoption. Hoyer (1997) thought innovation is relative new 14
  4. 4. product, service, concept or contribution from market. It is a wholly new product or an existing product is improved the value by new methods and also a relative new process and policy from adopters. Innovation broadly means all the new finding or inventions of technological and productivity that never existed before (Damanpour & Gopalakrishnan,1998 ; Damanpour & Gopalakrishnan, 2000). Bradford (2001) proposed innovation is a new concept successfully implemented into internal organization and recognized the concept is new by the specific area or social organization. Therefore, for related acceptable units, the innovation is knowledgeable by individual or units if the object is a new idea, practice or technology. Diffusion of Innovation in Organization Diffusion means transmit to social members by a specific way during a period of time (Rogers, 1995). In accordance with DOI theory, there are five basic elements affect the diffusion process of innovational objects as (1) Innovational product characteristics include relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, divisibility and communicability. It is important to note that these five characteristics are not the only ones that affect the rate of adoption; (2) Communication channels the meaning is the messages get from one individual to another; (3) Social system is a set of interrelated units that are engaged in joint problem solving to accomplish a common goal; (4) Time of decision process includes agenda setting, matching, redefining/restructuring, clarify and routinization; (5) Adopter categories include the five segments as innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. Organization attends and responses the change and transition of outside environment immediately for life (Subramanian & Nilakanta,1996). Facing the rapidly changed environment, organization must to increase efficiently and competence itself to acceptance (Gopalakrishnan & Damanpour,2000), and adopt the innovational objects to increasing the efficiency (Nystorm, Ramamurthy & Wilson, 2002; Mcafee, 2002; Porter, 1996; Rogers, 1995). Therefore, the driving force of accepting innovational objects in organization is for life and for business operation. Porter (1985) thought the innovation could excite the efficiency and effectives of organization. Dewan(1998) researched the companies which revenue growth rate are higher than the average growth rate of total corporations of U.S which have implemented innovative equipments on U.S market. The internal characteristics of organizations and the effects of environment effect the efficiency and effectives of organization (Gopalakrishnan & Damanpour,2000). Therefore, the decision of acceptance innovation is closed to relate with the characteristics of organizations and the facing status of environment of organization. Innovational product characteristics Rogers(1962) proposed the explained variance of characteristics of innovational products are 49% to 87% of all the factors of effecting innovation that include relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, divisibility and communicability. The characteristic of relative advantage expresses extent the new product is better than the one that is replacing. If the relative advantages of innovative products higher than currents, the probabilities of adoption and the speed of development will be higher (Premkumar & Roberts, 1999; Batz,Janssen & Peters, 1999; Lederer etal., 2000; Tang, 2000; Slkye, Lou & Day, 2002; Mehrtens, Cragg & Milla 2001; Min,2003). McDade,Oliva & Pirsch (2002) said if the relative advantages or promotion of innovative products were stronger than original and know for consumers, the effectiveness of diffusion will be high. Compatibility is the level of which an innovation fits into the specific society. The smoother the innovation fits into the culture, the faster the rate of adoption. The diffusion of certain types of birth control pills in certain areas is unattainable due to religious beliefs and cultural values just like the attitude for new technological objectives was affected experience and application degrees of adopting the related technologies. If application degree of related technology is higher in organization, the adoption of new technology will be higher (Williams, Magee & Suzuki, 1998). Teng, Grover & Guttler(2002). They found the compatibility was more often the significant effectiveness and established power for innovative objects compiled statistics in the past of DOI research. 14
  5. 5. Complexity of innovation is extent of how difficult it is for an adopter to understand and use an innovation. Jackson (1998) thought if the complexity of innovative object is higher, the time of on-job- training will be longer and cause of higher cost. High complexity products are usually hard to use and difficult to bring the real effects and performance, even more the risk rate will be over It is very logical to think that the harder the innovation is used, or at least perceived to use, the less likely that an adopter would be to consume it. Divisibility refers to the ability of the consumer to give the innovation a test run before deciding whether to adopt it or not. Dunphy (1995) thought divisibility is very important for adopting innovative objects of organization. The being able to try out a product before purchase helps increase the rate of adoption drastically. Communicability is simply stated as the idea that when an innovations benefit does not directly or immediately solve or fix a consumers problem or need, it will not diffuse through a society as quickly compared to an innovation that is more of solution to a problem. It is easier diffused in social institution if communicability of innovative object was higher than original (Dunphy,1995 ; Slkye, Lou & Day,2002). Communication channels The diffusion of innovations was related with communication processes. Rogers had compared with the media channels and personal influence. The finding of results from the mass media channels to the individual with little or no interaction between the individuals but powerful change the personal perception. The personal influence was easier to change the personal attitudes and behaviors. It was first thought that the communication process the diffusion of innovations was only a one-step process, from the mass media channels to the individual with little or no interaction between the individuals. This obviously is not the case. Not only do individuals communicate with each other, some individuals pass along their influence as well as their knowledge to other individuals. Opinion leaders are individuals in a social system that others come to for information and guidance. With the understanding of opinion leaders in society it is clear to see that the original one-step process invalid. Now the process takes us through mass media channels to opinion leaders then to the individuals. This two-step flow of communication is probably not complete, but the important idea to arrive is that no matter how many steps are involved there will always be a two-step exchange of knowledge/influence at any given step during the diffusion process. With the addition of steps to the communication process, the idea of personal influence comes into play, which refers to any communication between two individuals where one individual creates a change in consumer behavior and the other. A more practical way of stating personal influence is peer pressure. Social system Social systems are referring to the group or groups of people that an innovation diffuses through. Earlier, it was mentioned that people can determine how they will adopt innovations. Rogers(1995) proposed four-type models of decision making from different characteristics of organization and the constructs of decision making are optional, collective, authority and contingent. The optional type means the implementations of new object were adopted or rejected by specific person in organization. The collective means the implementations were decided by all members of organization. The authority is during option and collective types that mean the implementations were decided by some members who have more highly power or specialists. The contingent type cares the responses from middle-lower units after the new object was adopted by higher units in organization. Time Rogers’ innovation process in organizations, a five-stage process for how organizations adopt and implement an innovation as Agenda Setting where organizations determine needs, Matching where those 14
  6. 6. needs are connected with innovations, Redefining/restructuring where the innovation is redefined to fit the organization, the organization is restructured to fit the innovation, or a combination of both, Clarifying where the new innovation is further refined and finally Routinization when the innovation becomes another part of the organization. In the third edition (1983) Rogers stated that an organization could not progress to the next stage until it had completed the current stage. An organization therefore, could not skip a stage. After further research, Rogers stated in the fourth edition (1995) that this still holds true when an organization adopts an innovation from outside the organization, but when the organization adopts an innovation developed within the organization, the innovation may progress through the stages irrespective order. Adopter categories Rogers (1983) identified the five segments as innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. The specific characteristics that Rogers' identifies for each adopter category is significance to advertisers interested in creating an integrated marketing plan targeting a specific audience. In DOI curve, innovators share early 2.5% for all consumers of adopting innovative objects in different stages, early adopters share 13.5%, early majority share 34%, late majority share 34%, and laggards share 16%. METHODOLOGY In this study, first we use Everett M. Rogers’s (1962) Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) Theory as our framework, with case study such as torpedo car system of steel plant discussing RFID system’s five stages of its implementation process. The five stages are agenda setting, matching, redefining / restructuring, clarifying and routinization. Secondary we interview with company-China Steel Corporation (CSC) and focus on the experimental practices and effectiveness of new technology - RFID system implementation in mass production and summarized with five stages of DOI theory as figure 2 shows. Last, we inductive an innovative implementation model of new technology that combined practices and theory from important decision making points and key success factors of adoptive process. Initiation Phase Implementation Phase Agenda Redefining/ Matching Restructurin Clarifying Routinization Setting g Decision to Adopt CSC - Innovational Process of RFID Implementation Figure 2 - The Innovation Process in Organizations This study is focus on leading steel industrial company, China Steel Corporation (CSC) in Taiwan. We consider the innovational products and resource supporting ability of implemented technology are relative higher than the others. The research topic is usage of RFID implement into steel production in Taiwan. Our interviewees are included the employees of the project, the engineers of electrical & control division, transportation engineers of raw material & in plant transportation department and the users of RFID system in CSC and the external coordinated suppliers for constructing an objective of fully implement practices of company by crossing compare with information and suggestions from technology adopters and providers. In part of the study data collection, the information is divided into primary and secondary data in to two parts. The information through observation and in-depth interviews were been initially collected. In the interview process, we set questions guidelines for the interviews (interview guide). We ask respondents for more detailed and comprehensive answers to understand the actual cases of proliferation 14
  7. 7. in innovative models. The interview is semi-structured – quantitative and qualitative-oriented model. The researchers at the scene write down on the paper and use recorder to record the interview for follow-up information, analysis and validation. The secondary sources are from research journals, doctoral thesis, books and media reports, other public information, company’s official information and other enterprises. In data analysis, this research used content analysis on the sample analysis as main focus, and based on interviews’ contents using classification theory to conceptualize the contents. At the end, with final edit of analysis, interpretation of the contents to explore more meaningful and relevant information. CSC’s Manufacturing Process – the Ability and Importance of Torpedo Car The main manufacturing process of CSC production is the processing of raw materials, iron making, steel making and rolling as listed 1.Raw material:Coal, iron ore, and limestone are unloaded to the storage yard first. The coal is then transferred to the coke oven plants to be produced into coke, iron ore and limestone are transferred to the sinter; 2. Iron making: Iron ore, sinter, coke, together with flux are fed into the blast furnaces, and they are ignited to produce hot metal and slag. Hot metal is then transferred to the basic oxygen furnaces by railway torpedo car; 3. Steel making: Hot metal and steel scrap are charged into the BOF to be produced into liquid steel which is mostly transported to the refining stations tor treatment, and then it is sent to the continuous casters to be produced into slabs or blooms which are semi-finished products; 4. Rolling: Blooms are fed into the billet mill to be shaped into billets and further processed into bars or wire rod products in the bar or rod mills. Slabs are fed into the plants mill to be shaped into the plants or further processed into hot rolled products in the strip mills. Hot rolled products can be further processed to produce cold rolled products in the cold roll mills. The blast furnace (BF) operation is one of iron-making processes. Iron ores, cokes and fluxes are charged from furnace top, then to react with the ascending gas which is introduced from tubers, as a result to produce the molten hot metal and slag. Hot metal is treated by de-S or de-P process at pretreatment station first then transported to BOF for oxygen blowing, and after tapping to ladle, liquid steel is further refined at LI (ladle Injection), RH (vacuum treatment), VOD or STN (stirring station); refined liquid steel then sent to SCC or BCC for casting to slab or bloom semi-product, finally this semi- product is inspected or grinded, or scar fed to remove surface defects, then shifted to downstream for rolling. Torpedo cars are used carrier of hot metal from BF and translated to BOF that deploy in different transportation systems of regions. After poured out of hot metal, torpedo cars should go into cleaning operation and replace to BF as shows in Figure 3. The schedule planning of railway torpedo car should suitable for different needs of capacities in each BF. In which, there are separated to two regions as iron- making plant and steel-making plant and deployed in second relays of torpedo cars if adopted the operation of cross regions, and cause of lower efficiency by increasing the time of transportation and waiting. Actually, the capacities of hot metal from BF#3 and BF#4 are much lower than back side (BOF & pretreatment sections) capacities of deoxidization in 2nd steel-making plant, therefore, the outputs of hot metal from BF#1 and BF#2 sometimes were deployed to 2nd steel-making plant, and balance the capacities between front side (BF sections) and back side. When torpedo cars of BF#1 and BF#2 loaded hot metal (loading flow) and should be deployed to 2nd steel-making plant then poured out and replaced to BF#1 and BF#2 to avoid the status of insufficient quantities of torpedo cars. In order to meet the requirements of senior types of steel, the outputs of de-Si hot metal in BF#3 should be deployed to 1st iron-making plant and proceeded de-P pretreatment. The key points of automatic production in steel plant were maintained, the stable supply of hot metal in BF and a well deoxidization in back side regions to make sure the smoothly operation in iron-making and steel-making processes. There are three conditions in general operation of torpedo cars include (1). Outputs of hot metal between front side and back side capacities were balanced in general operation, and the loading and empty flows of torpedo cars were controlled in suitable range as an optimum situation; (2). When back side equipment was failed or broken and caused to decrease the capacities of deoxidization, the outputs of hot metal were higher than deoxidization and caused to increased loading flow of torpedo cars and jammed, further more the poured out torpedo cars were delayed to clean the 14
  8. 8. accumulated slag, then destroyed the cars, the replaced torpedo cars are not enough to back to BF that should be turned off the output immediately and injured the quality of hot metal in BF for continuous production; (3). When front side equipment of BF was failed or broken, the empty torpedo cars were accumulated, the outputs of hot metal were lower than the capacities of deoxidization, and BOF would keep running to wait for shortage quantities of hot metal and wasted energy. Therefore, the real time deployment of railway torpedo care system will be a well buffer zone at a state of emergency and control the lowest loss for steel plant. Automation RFID identification tracking system was set RFID readers, antennas on apparatus, torpedo cars and gateways, and composed RFID tags set on front and back side positions of outside railway switches and entrances. The action flow of system includes the antennas on the cars will shoot the wireless wave and received by setting tags of railway, and tags will send the ID code when torpedo car passed the setting position. After RFID antennas identified the code then transmit to RFID reader and decoding ID by transmitting system, and then transmit the ID data to data collected station of controlled center. The propose of implement RFID system is replace the old deployment that track the torpedo cars on specific length of railway was relied on railway switches and manual marked the position by magnets on disposing photos of whiteboard, further deployed by intercom. The dispatchers could handle the dynamic situation of plant torpedo cars from computers of dispatcher's offices, and recorded the moving routes to decrease the loading and risks of dispatchers. 1st Iron-making Plant 2nd Steel-making Plant de-S or de-P de-S Pretreatment Hot Metal BOF BOF Hot Metal Pretreatme Pig/M. & Dump/Y. #2 TCC #1 TCC BF #1 BF #2 BF #3 BF #4 Maintenance Plant Remark : Loading Flow Empty Flow Loading Support Figure 3 - Torpedo Car Deployment & Operational process Data Source: Internal data from CSC DIFFFFUSION OF INNOVATION PROCESS FOR RFID SYSTEM IN CSC 14
  9. 9. The Characteristics of Innovative Products of RFID RFID torpedo car, identification tracking system relative to the old system brought the interest of CSC, because of immediately provision of a dynamic information which unlike the old system that has fixed- point static information. In RFID system, scheduling staff at the scene can collect information in the grasping situation on the moving vehicles rather than just reported back in time. The moving torpedo car can log accurate information because of the system is been adapted to information technology. It can control the irregularities of cars and also provide tasks schedule analysis or enhance operational efficiency of the database. By comparing with traditional vehicles scheduling it can be significantly shorten the time. CSC hopes in the future by adapting RFID system can fully automated the manufacturing process that can reduce expenditure, manpower, and training costs. In innovation organization point of view, we feel that CSC’s fully automation can be a leading example of RFID system. CSC and external vendors consult and discuss with each other to build development plans from hardware to software in adapting RFID to existing torpedo car system, therefore a lot of functional needs discuss by scheduling staffs are been considerate, so that the system can have highly degree of compatibility of each other and great usability for actual production line. Although the operation process of RFID system is different from the traditional system, but it brings greater conveniences and improves a lot of weakness in the old system. The new RFID system relative to the tradition system add a few capabilities therefore it increase the complexity of the system. Although the system is complex but still the difficulty is low and so that it can be train in a short period of time and it will not cause difficulties for the operation staffs. The CSC recruits more and more younger employees with better learning abilities and observation. The external vendors can conduct small-scale test on RFID experimental parts during the system construction. Therefore, the CSC can use this test to assess RFID system to torpedo car identification tracking system to fit the situation and understand the system for the operating environment and improve the operational flow of progress and enhance performances. CSC is the first company in Taiwan that incorporated RFID system into its torpedo car tracking identification system, so that we don’t have other companies in Taiwan to precedent for the observation of objects. We can only use the external company like American company, TRANSCORE. TRANSCORE use the RFID in the rail transport is the case experience for us. We assess their expected results, and observed their limited hardware equipment. In software, there is no performance that can be observed. Therefore, the introduction of RFID system observation is relative limited. Comprehensively import torpedo car with RFID tracking system that can identify as the characteristics of innovative products. Although the observation is limited, but in benefits, compatibility, complexity and testing can score relative higher compared to the old system, therefore assessment of RFID into the torpedo car identification tracking system is highly innovative product that is widely acceptance. RFID system in the channels of communication CSC obtained information in the new products and technologies through the employees. The employees regularly attend domestic and foreign conferences in new products and technologies, therefore the information obtained on RFID system isn’t just personal reason but it is provided by companies that promotes new technologies and products. CSC searches the sources of RFID vender was followed the open bidding process to find the winning bidder. CSC took the first initiative in this field. The information of RFID products can only obtain through open competition of RFID provider companies. This way allows CSC able to gain more benefits and allows the providers to understand more about CSC. Therefore, it will cut down the problem occurs in adoption and limited the misleading by personal bias in product or company. Social system of CSC 14
  10. 10. In CSC’s social structure, the majority of its engineers are college graduated. According to Roger (2003) in the book of DOI, highly educated employees are easier to accept and adopt new innovative products; therefore the employees in CSC are more likely to accept the new innovative products. They also have more knowledge and information to analysis the use of the new innovative product. CSC have a solid organization structure, each department is clearly separated and the decision makers are able to response suggestion and pay attention with their employees, therefore it is great help to introduce innovation and technology. In social norms, CSC is the leading domestic steel industry, the policy objective of positioning the company to become world-class steel continued to progress to increase company’s competitiveness. CSC has highly acceptance of new technology. It also has enough finding and employees relative higher than other steel companies. Therefore by implementing new technology can expected to have lower costs, improved performance efficiency. It can be a good example on the diffusion of innovation. High-level management leaders in CSC promote innovation, and support projects adopts new technology in resources, finding, and time. The management fully empowered RFID system project’s experts. The electrical control department and in plant transportation department recruit technology experts and user experts. They can provide professional point of view on the objective assessment of the new system suitable for the organization. This allows the organization to accept the new technology faster. Although in the earlier adoption, still will need to face suspicion from some employees but because of endorsement by the experts can reduce this opposition. Time diffusion of CSC The old transportation systems of torpedo cars used the radio, sensors of switches and whiteboard making the positions of cars. The dispatchers relied on hand-held radio machine (Walkie-talkie) with the other ways to deploy the cars when torpedo cars should stand by on the position by calculating the outputs of hot metal from BF. The old system have a high management abilities in single-site but unable to catch the real time information when the car is moving. In agenda setting stage, CSC wants to reach automatic production, logistic and knowledge management, and reduced cost in process management, for optimum arrangement on production and increase the efficiency of risk management and operational management for industrial competition, and will regular attend the global conferences and forums and invite the vender’s reporting in the company and sharing the newest technologies in RFID system. For initial implementation of RFID, CSC employees take the initiative with suitable venders and inquire the possibility of implemented RFID into torpedo cars that storage the data of moving car and deployment experience in database then it will decrease the learning curve and risk. In matching stage, CSC evaluated the other technologies like GPS, but still chooses RFID to reach the target of automatic production. Initially, there is no precedent experience for reference and should leading a project group and combined the professional abilities of suppliers, setting and testing in direction on production system. The evaluation methods include expecting equipments, setting the simple testing machines, trail run the feasibilities and pilot run on the spot, then large scale building and implement to mass production. In redefining/ restructuring stage, the early adoption stage, most companies in Taiwan are relying on outsourcing of RFID implementation by public bidding and cooperated with internal project groups. The authorized decision of specifications and purchasing the software and hardware that base on the abilities of equipment setting, team managements and the degrees of understanding in traffics management of steel plants, attempt of solving problems and the stability and practicability in main consideration in decreased the risks of potential issues substantially. The purchasing of hardware and software was followed in the regular contracts and the needs of specifications that co-decided with internal team members and vendors then choose the suitable ones by venders. In clarify stage, CSC detailed and analyzed the original functions of system, and asked the suppliers to install and trial run the new system in company. It mainly proposed to early understanding the functions, principles for employees that they can catch the dynamic information on the status of torpedo cars and which written data in database. They clarified the RFID system implementation which met the strategic targets of company would increase the efficiency of operation and easy the risk management. Therefore, 14
  11. 11. the orders will increase the loading capacity and the employees could easy the work and rely on this system implementation. The company will never need to extend the demand of human resource. In operational efficiency, due to automatic recording the dynamic data of torpedo cars it will not only assist the innovative technology as RFID system to diffuse in company, but also meet the theory of Clarify and increase the disciplines of operators and drivers therefore avoiding the contingencies. CSC will hold the training courses and SOP to staffs for preparing the work in the future. In the conventional stage, CSC setup new management indicators system to measure the performance on implementation of innovation. The measurement indicators are divided into two parts. The first measurement is quantitative indicators which are torpedo cars scheduling information, rate of sensor reading, number of speeding. The second measurement is non-quantitative indicators which are safety of employees on the torpedo car railway, corporate images and etc. The benefits of the new system is digitalize the written paper work data into computerize database which promotes the integrity and reliability of the data that will enhance the company’s automatic performances. It also limited the speeding therefore increases the safety of work environment and enhances employees’ confidence which allows the new technology becomes regularly process. The system has not been fully constructed, so it still needs to keep track the performance of RFID. However, it is expected to increase efficiency in transportation and also enhance performance of blast furnace. It needs to continue correct the weakness of the system. The weakness of the system included the need of sensors to track torpedo car’s speed and adjust the position identification label and overcome the signal weakness during the rainy days. These are the key points to follow-up and be improved. CSC as the recipient of innovation CSC in adoption of RFID system in torpedo cars identification tracking system is classify as earlier adaptor of innovation. The first reason is that CSC has greater resources and financial assess that can sustain the risks of adoption new innovation. The second reason is that it has ability and expertise to understand and apply complexity of technology, and it also can proper evaluate new technology into the system efficiency and able to face the possible risk and high ability in crisis management. The third reason is that the business objective of CSC is to become a world-class steel company. The CSC is more active adopt innovation technology and is willing to invest in fully automation manufacturing production and enhance total performance compares to other company in the industry. Conclusion In accordance with Diffusion of Innovation(DOI)theory and the framework for study, We summarized our research findings of implemented RFID system as following. In general, person think the innovative technology implemented into traditional industry will spend for a long time, and almost follow the change of environment, or could increase the performance of corporation significantly, and passive catch the information of innovative technology. However, CSC belongs to traditional industry but they did have positive understanding and open mind related information of innovative technology. They will regular attend the global conferences and forums and invite the suppliers’ reporting in company inside, and ask to offer the technological reports and sample for test. As above, the ways let internal adopters well understand the potential applications and interests will meet the needs and developing trend of company in agenda setting stage of DOI. In matching stage, CSC combined the professional abilities of suppliers, setting and testing in direction on production system. On one hand could show the performance in real operation of innovative technology, the other hand could easier knew the suitable solutions for technology adopters, and further thinking about how to implement and redefining the structure of organization and ready to adjust. In Redefining/restructuring stage, CSC choose the suitable outsourcing and discussed the changed methods of the operational process in the future, and authorized the decision of specifications and purchasing the software and hardware that base on the stability and practicability in mainly consideration not only for price could decreased the risks of potential issues substantially. The means the lowest uncertainty is the first priority in implementation of innovative technologies for innovator of DOI – CSC. Moreover, in order to increase the acceptation rate of internal employees, CSC asked the suppliers 14
  12. 12. to install and test the new system in company, and mainly proposed to early knew the functions and principles for employees that not only assist the innovative technology as RFID system to diffuse in company but also meet the theory of Clarify and decrease the suspects and resistances. The stability and reading rate of signal are the key indicators of successful implemented RFID system. Therefore, CSC set the initial target of innovative technology was same as original efficiency for translated manual process to automatic process. The stability of system was fine tuned to reach a specific level would ask increasing the efficiency and involve in evaluation items in Routinization stage. Large-scale and solid financial enterprises usually take the initiative to collect information and understanding the innovative technologies such as the RFID system. If the technology can be widely applied in the company and bring greater benefits, the employees within the company will propose recommended plans. Therefore, usually early adopters of such technology are big firm companies. Enterprises that are considering implementing this innovative technology like RFID system, the first focus is its future benefit, followed by the costs and the other factors. If the assessments revealed that can significantly enhance corporate performance, even in the absence of precedent for reference, than the enterprises will still try to implement and use this technology. Because the use of innovative technology companies usually lack of precedent and experience for reference, therefore before they adopted, they will survey related examples and will compare the current operation status to improve the efficiency of the forecast evaluation. In the initial stage of introduce innovative technology for a company, increasing corporate performance brought by technology usually remains in forecast period and hard to specify prediction. From influencing factors of DOI, for keeping a advantage of industrial leader, CSC robust evaluate and make a daring approach the innovative technology RFID system in company for long term development with have more positive ambitions in the future even the yield or performance could not be increased immediately after set up finished initially. The innovative product characteristics of RFID torpedo car, identification tracking system belongs a higher level of diffusion, which could decreased to the lowest resistance and obtain the supports of high level decision making when implemented it. Due to the different industrial characteristics, corporation resources, scales and targets will cause of the different reasons in agenda setting and have a different consideration in a specific background of space- time for implement the innovative technology. A company has fully resource and bigger size, that usually turn into be a role of innovator in the field, and positive to break through the bottleneck by finding the innovative technology. In initially R&D, who fully catch the newest information, the power of internal teams and outsource to implement innovation and maintain the rank of leader position. Even though to be a innovator in the curve of DOI usually face a higher risk, spend more higher cost and must to undertake a lots of uncertain factors in industrial innovation, but almost have a highest benefits and return on investment. In CSC case study of implemented RFID system, it is a good solution with an internal project team and out sourcing together, a well-arrangement in each evaluation stage and section of management will have a highly probability of success diffusion of innovation. We make few suggestions for future research including studying diffusion of innovation in different industries such as the differences between high tech industries and traditional industries. The traditional industries, steel industry, plastics industry and food industry have different diffusion of innovation model compares to high tech industries. Even the companies in the same industries also have differences in size, strategies between competitors that affect diffusion of innovation model. For example, comparing the leader in steel industry to others, the entire theoretical framework that verify the practice characteristics in different circumstances, where there are different models in diffusion of innovation theory and hypothesis can be validate and build into theories and practices. The validation of the theory and quantitative models is also another direction of future researches. For example, in this study, after adopting RFID system in a period of time, we can conduct on-site survey for different measurement indicators in diffusion of innovation and test its actual performance by using results of the study to compare the theoretical conclusion and build the research on RFID system’s diffusion of innovation. 14
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