The implementation of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) devices has improved productivity and operational efficiency in warehouses and distribution centers across the world. RFID technology complements technologies for data capture (like bar codes) which are already employed in distribution centers and warehouses.
Benefits of using RFID in distribution and warehouse
- Reduce the cost of labor – You can decrease the functions of primary warehouse workers from inventory to picking, packing, shipping to putting things away.
- Increase the accuracy of your inventory – Improve the receiving accuracy and efficiency, and make your ordering and picking process completely error-free.
- Reduce the stock levels in your inventory – Improve the visibility of your stock and of the demand generation.
- Reduce out-of-stock and unsalable items – Lower and leaner levels of inventory will translate to quicker inventory turns and little to no stagnant stock.
- Improve the satisfaction of your customers – The technology makes it possible to make sure that the right goods end up with the right recipient at the right time.
Radio Frequency Identification in receiving
Traditionally pallets, cases and items used barcodes in receiving. Workers had to scan them one by one. With an RFID tag, all the items can be read at the same time by a portal reader which is usually placed on the dock door where they are unloaded from trucks.
Usually it takes about three hours to individually count, scan and sort the cartons. However, with centralized scanning and access, it barely takes half an hour for cartons with an RFID tag.
Using a warehouse management system, you can cross dock the items for immediate transportation, staging and storing.
Tagging individual items at the manufacturing point
Tagging the products at the manufacturing source lets you have a much more accurate and specific inbound and outbound information in the distribution centers, and not to mention, more efficient shipping and receiving processes at the external sites.
Use RFID and RTLS to manage your assets in real-time
Using active or passive RFID tags that are affixed to valuable assets like products, equipment, containers, and people, it is now possible for organizations to monitor the status and location of the asset in real time. There are specialty tags developed to meet the needs of certain kinds of asset management, and many companies have successfully implemented this system in closed loop systems of the returnable assets.
With the advent of real-time location and tracking, the process of asset management becomes a lot more granular.
RFID and Traceability
RFID tags can be used to make sure that government compliance mandates, such as “form to fork” are addressed. The tags have all the necessary tracking information, from the shelf life and manufacturing date, expiration date and shelf life to the batches, lots, serial numbers and more.
Using portals and leaders throughout the supply chain, you can wirelessly update the data and make use of the electronic record in the case of a counterfeit or recall issue.
A luxury fashion boutique in Hong Kong, Macau and Mainland China has deployed a novel RFID management system that lets the retailer track the location of their products, engage with their customers, learn their preferences, and reduce the labor costs based on the inventory counts. The solution includes ultrahigh-frequency RFID readers and IP cameras.
By linking the RFID Data to images from the CCTV camera and social-media sites like Facebook, a retailer can identify the areas with the heaviest shopper traffic (using a heat-map generated from the camera footage) to understand how individuals respond to the products and also monitor the comments they make on social media sites.
From the warehouse to the shop, RFID technology has had a revolutionary impact in improving the accuracy and efficiency of businesses.