Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department or School

College of Technology

Committee Member

John Dugger, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Daniel Fields, PhD

Committee Member

Konnie Kustron, JD

Committee Member

Huei Lee, PhD


The primary purpose of this research effort is to investigate the relationship between Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology and reducing waste in a manufacturing setting where a lean manufacturing system has been implemented. This research identifies implementation areas where RFID can have the greatest impact on work-in-progress management, inventory management, manufacturing assets tracking and maintenance, and manufacturing control in lean manufacturing environments. The study specifically focuses on how RFID can help identify, reduce, and eliminate the seven common types of waste identified by Taiichi Ohno in the Toyota Production System. These seven include overproduction, waiting time, inefficient transportation, inappropriate processing, unnecessary inventory, unnecessary motion, and rejects & defects. The study expands the knowledge of manufacturing waste reduction through the use of RFID technology.

Through the use of a forty-question survey, this research involved the collection, review, analysis, and classification of the perceptions of participants across six U.S. manufacturing industries regarding where RFID can have the greatest impact on lean manufacturing. Data collection involved a structured survey administered to 1900+ members of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). Based on the perceptions of the respondents, RFID technology can be used in several areas/functions/locations within manufacturing that helps to identify and reduce the seven types of manufacturing waste and that RFID technology may improve work-in-progress management, inventory management, and manufacturing control.

The study concluded that the reduction of manufacturing waste can be achieved through the deployment of RFID technology in 23 of 35 potential applications. This study fulfills an identified need to study the implementation areas where RFID can have the greatest impact and add value within lean manufacturing settings. The research includes implications for industry practitioners, RFID suppliers, researchers and scholars by providing a better understanding of the benefits of RFID in manufacturing.