The search for better E2E visibility within the supply chain never truly ends. When it comes to moving freight, the ability to monitor it through the supply chain, using radio frequency identification (RFID), is a proven method that will likely never outgrow its usefulness.
Today's consumers and logistics partners seek more transparency for the movement of their freight.
As technology improves, supply chains continually implement new and improved tracking abilities. While GPS tracking is popular and even needed, the reliable RFID tag continues to provide a way for warehouses and carriers alike to manually report on stocked inventory or goods currently in-transit.
RFID technology might be outdated, but it still holds a valuable position as a trustworthy data collection tool.
Comparing RFID vs Barcodes for Tracking Inventory
Two of the leading pieces of equipment that help logistics companies locate and identify products are barcodes and RFID tags. While they both accomplish similar tasks, they are quite different.
For instance, both are used to track assets and help with inventory management. However, one is mobile, while the other is a stationary scanning system.
The barcode system is used to scan a “UPC” code that helps to identify a product, the location or a storage commodity being used in the movement. Since this type of platform depends on a stationary system, it is not useful for tracking goods in real-time.
RFID tags, on the other hand, can be traced as they move through the chain and in real-time.
The Benefits of Using RFID Tags
While many companies are integrating GPS or satellite tracking technology, the products themselves are quite expensive.
RFID tags accomplish virtually the same job of helping to locate where products are while in transit.
Let's take a look at the top benefits of using RFID tags...
Increased Visibility of Assets
The biggest benefit of RFID technology is being able to track products anywhere and at any time.
RFID tags can be read from any location inside a facility, on the road, or even outdoors.
One major way this helps supply chain businesses is with inventory control and tracking. By assigning an RFID tag to a pallet, for example, it helps a company quickly locate products that need to be picked, packed, and shipped. It also increases the efficiency of multiple inventory management efforts, as it allows counters and auditors to find goods easier, resulting in reduced downtime.
The main pain-point of using barcodes is that you must see it in order to scan it. This results in a fair amount of wasted time walking to the product, locating the barcode and scanning with the equipment.
RFID eliminates this by using radio frequencies to help ‘ping’ the location of the product. RFID tags significantly reduce the time needed to locate, and track products.
Furthermore, the reduction in time spent locating goods helps to reduce costs associated with labor and can improve the overall facility productivity.
Reduce Loss, Theft, and Shrink
RFID tagging also helps companies with inventory control by keeping track of any moving products that are not authorized to do so. This is especially important with high-value products like computers, televisions, and automobiles.
Sometimes the mere appearance or knowledge that RFID tags are attached can reduce the potential of theft. If the would-be thief knows that is can track them, this is a great deterrent.
RFID technology is definitely here to stay!
It’s simple to use, easy to integrate, and provides logistics businesses with multiple benefits to help improve end-to-end visibility – which is a focal point in today’s logistics space.