RFID technology has been created as far ago as 1973, however it has only recently gained widespread commercial popularity reaching a market value of over $10 billion and is believed to become ubiquitous in the next decade. At its core, RFID is a data collection technology that can scan multiple sources at once in an instant. Similar to the well-known barcode scanning systems, but without the manual labour limitations involved. Whilst the traditional barcode scanning can become the bottleneck of your inventory management, RFID provides a seamless streamed process that is not constricted with the speed of manual labour.
The technology comprises a system of tags or labels, which are miniature devices able to receive or transmit information, and the scanning equipment that can receive and transmit information from them. The tag is written with whatever information the user wants. The tags can be passive or active, depending on their ability to only receive or receive and transmit signals. These products vary in their operating ranges and performance properties, thus the supplier can choose a suitable tag system specification for their clients.
As the tags are constantly sending or recieving the signal, they are perfect for situations requiring minute-to minute life tracking through various phases of the supply chain. Unlike a barcode that needs to face the scanner to be scanned, and RFID tag can be anywhere on the goods that come through the detection portal without the worker having to manually scan an item.
Communication and information sharing are the keys to a successful supply chain and are even more vital in a digital supply chain. Implementation and successful use of digital logistics strategies rely on the availability of accurate product data in a real life. RFID allows for such immediate data capture and sharing.
The increased trade visibility can start with auto matching an RFID tag with the production bundle ID. By doing this, your business can have real life inventory tracking throughout the whole supply chain – what goods are available at what mill, warehouse, at the port, at sea or at the importers' yard. Having this information covers the typical blank spot between your businesses’ own warehouse managing software data and the data available when you track container. Having this data available increases warehouse performance levels and leads to higher profit margins as well as better production planning. Apart from increased accuracy of inventory management, RFID tags facilitate export automation – automatic records of input and output of products as well as automation of packing lists and loading lists for all parties.
Overall, the use of RFID provides clear benefits and assists the digitalization of supply chains. Not only it reduces operational costs as well as required human resources but also provides increased integrity of data, reduced product cycle times, and increased efficiency.
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