RFID Business Benefits
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a transformational technology that will radically change the way we handle products in the Supply Chain. Whether deploying RFID to accomplish compliance or to achieve business benefits, enthusiasm for RFID is being fueled by the potential efficiency gains over manual data collection methods this technology can deliver. RFID represents an opportunity for customers with automatic data collection needs as this technology can significantly improve the efficiency and accuracy of data collection applications, reduce the amount of direct labor required, and improve inventory and quality control, resulting in productivity gains, cost savings, competitive advantage, and a quick return on investment.
RFID’s Broad Market Appeal
RFID technology has been gaining considerable attention, and momentum, in the marketplace as a significant evolution of auto-identification technologies. Not only are purchasing powerhouses like Wal-Mart and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) driving industries to adopt this technology for supply chain applications, but many customers are focusing on the potential efficiency gains of RFID for their automatic data capture applications in both the supply chain and mobile computing applications.
How RFID Works
Using radio waves to track objects and provide near-real-time views of product status and location, RFID makes supply chains more efficient. RFID is the promise of receiving nearly instantaneous data that tells which products have been sold, and how much remains on shelves, in warehouses and distribution centers. This information aids inventory control and distribution channel management, and reduces costs.
For example, take the scenario where a forklift picks up a pallet loaded with several dozen cartons of product from a warehouse. If using bar-code technology, each package on the pallet would need to have its label scanned manually to track what’s being moved. RFID technology would enable the same tracking by installing an RFID scanner in the doorway (much like your toll booth with FastLane) that registers what’s in the load when the forklift drives through. The scanner simply reads the signals of tags within radio transmission range. No human effort is required to track the load, except to drive it through.
In addition to replacing the function of your standard barcode, RFID can provide much more detailed information on what the product is, where it’s going, and how to handle it. This feature can eliminate theft, fraud, misplaced stock, or other issues that result in increased prices to cover losses.
As RFID technology evolves, increasing numbers of customers across all markets will implement it. Its unique capability of not requiring line-of-sight to capture data drives operational efficiencies and productivity gains as processes are re-engineered and streamlined. In the supply chain, RFID improves inventory visibility, reduces the need for manual handling, and results in greater accuracy of shipments while reducing labor costs.
For help with RFID and your business system implementation, contact us and one of our consultants will help you.