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CEO Letter: Impinj Commitment to Quality, Reliability and Trust

Impinj CEO Chris Diorio comments on Impinj's unwavering commitment to quality, reliability and innovation.

RAIN RFID’s rapid expansion from a retail inventory-visibility tool to the underpinning of enterprise digitization is placing stringent new demands on system quality and reliability. A decade ago, the pioneering RAIN use case — handheld-driven apparel inventory counting — improved store inventory visibility from roughly 65% to 95%. The industry had 100% in its sights, but the additional store-employee labor cost to get to 100% didn’t justify the effort. With a 95% success criteria, apparel deployments didn’t stress RAIN system quality and reliability. But much has changed since then, and today the situation couldn’t be more different.  

Today, retailers are using RAIN for inbound logistics, and a missed tag means manual intervention and, frequently, supplier chargebacks. Some retailers are also using RAIN at point-of-sale, where a failed tag means lost revenue. Logistics companies are using RAIN for shipment routing, and a tag error means a lost or delayed shipment. Healthcare companies are using RAIN in emergency-room crash carts, where a tag data error can literally spell life or death. The list of mission-critical RAIN applications extends to aviation, space agencies, automobile safety equipment and much more. As a consequence, retailers are demanding dramatic system-reliability improvements, and some industries are demanding Six Sigma — from the tag, the data transmitted over the radio link, the readers and the enterprise software systems.  

I personally spent a decade in the satellite industry and know the challenges of Six Sigma all too well. The path from 95% to Six Sigma is more than a ten-thousand-fold improvement. But Six Sigma is as much an opportunity as a challenge. So, a few years ago, Impinj embarked on a journey to deliver that dramatic improvement in RAIN system quality and reliability. The fruits of that journey are already showing today.  

Impinj’s goal is for enterprises to trust us and our partners to solve their unsolved problems. For them to trust us with their corporate digitization and success. And for people to trust us to protect their privacy and security. Building trust requires an unwavering commitment to quality, reliability and innovation, and a corporate culture with trust at its foundation. Those words are Impinj. Our mission is to connect every thing and trust every connection. 

Quality and reliability enterprises can trust 

Over the past few years, as Impinj has come to understand the quality and reliability requirements of enterprise digitization, we have invested tens of millions of dollars on our journey to meet those requirements. Those investments include:  

  • Acquiring Voyantic. In 2023 we acquired Voyantic, the industry leader in tag and label testing systems. We are expanding the Voyantic team and effort from today’s leading RAIN tag-testing company to be the RAIN tag quality monitoring and data analytics standard, including tag validation, test, encoding and data. 
  • Impinj M800 series. Last year, we launched the most advanced RAIN ICs in the market, our Impinj M800 series tag chips. With new features that enhance reliability, durability, readability and data integrity, the Impinj M800 series is central to our efforts to ensure reliable enterprise digitization. 
  • New engineering and testing facility. In 2023 we opened a new 29,000-square-foot facility to support RAIN IC development, inlay design and assembly, and solutions prototyping and testing. That facility includes the key inlay-manufacturing equipment our partners use to build inlays, including IC bonders, inlay bend-test machines, temperature and humidity chambers, Voyantic test systems, anechoic chambers and much more. We and our partners have already built and tested 60 million inlays using Impinj M800 series ICs, and we have verified end-user solutions with those Impinj M800 series-based inlays.

Every company goes through quality challenges at some point in its history. Impinj is no exception. What sets the winning companies apart is how they respond. The Impinj team rose to the occasion by acknowledging our shortcomings and developing a comprehensive plan to address them. From the data I’ve seen, the Impinj M800 series is the highest quality endpoint IC series we’ve ever built and enables the highest quality inlays in the market. Our E family reader ICs are likewise the highest-quality reader ICs we’ve ever built, and they enable the highest-performing readers on the market. And our Impinj R700 series readers best the enterprise-grade quality of their predecessor, the Impinj Speedway R420.  

As we advance our product quality, we also work with our customers so they can bring that same quality to their customers. For example, we offer inlay manufacturing recipes based on the tens of millions of inlays we ourselves built and tested. We offer reader IC reference designs built from our proven experience. And, in our test facility, we prototype whole solutions to enterprise problems and we train our partners on how to deploy those solutions.  

The trusted brand in RAIN RFID 

The essential starting point for any company embarking on a quality journey is a corporate mindset that wants to measure every process, delve deeply into the data, acknowledge its shortcomings, develop and execute corrective-action plans, and then repeat. It is the principle of continuous improvement. But to succeed, a company’s leadership and employees must truly desire to continually improve. Impinj has demonstrated that mindset and desire. We are, and want to continue being, the trusted brand in RAIN RFID. Please join us on our journey.

Article tagged as:

Blog Impinj Reader Chips Impinj Readers Impinj Tag Chips Company News

Tuesday, May 21, 2024



Chris Diorio

Chief Executive Officer, Vice Chair, & Co-Founder

Chris Diorio is the CEO, vice chair, and co-founder at Impinj and an affiliate professor at the University of Washington. He spearheaded the development of the RAIN RFID radio standard and cofounded the RAIN Alliance.