There is no doubt about it. Winners in this industry are those teams who have the imagination to seize every possible technological opportunity that comes their way.

Innovation is a key provider for those keen to survive what has become one of the industry’s leanest periods.

One of the most interesting windows of opportunity is being provided by radio frequency identification.

Not so very long ago it looked as though the cost of independent tags, let alone the hardware to track them, would be prohibitive but costs are falling fast, even if a penny a tag is still significant in the packaging world.

This technology is developing like greased lightning and both industry and commercial interests are bringing it nicely to the boil so that we may all benefit from the fresh opportunities that it will offer.

The EAN is busy developing the Electronic Product TM network in a bid to unify item identification numbering, radio frequency tags and networked product information into a powerful system for managing supply chains. On the commercial front the low cost, intelligent tag is virtually here.

Now supply chain efficiency must surely follow, reducing costs every step of the way and opening up this sector for even further development.

What intrigues me most is just how RFID and associated technologies will be used in five or 10 years from now. The possibilities are endless.

Walter Lewis’ article in this issue gives readers a glimpse into the immediate future and there is little doubt that it will be just the forerunner of many articles to come on this fascinating subject.