RFID AND LOGISTICS
TRADE IS ABOUT INFORMATION
Someone once said: “Trade is not about goods. Trade is about information”.
Goods sit in the warehouse until information moves them and by visiting a warehouse everyone could probably confirm how true this is.
The fundamental warehouse processes that refer to receiving, put away, storage, picking, packing, and shipping, all rely on data and are enabled by information, as well as any possible process optimization.
To streamline warehouse operations, reduce costs and errors, information is at core and RFID is the best technological enabler.
This is why RFID finds its first application field in logistics.
RFID IN RECEIVING
Receiving is the first process and consequently one of the most important: at receiving goods must be verified, to grant that the right products and quantities have been received and that they are in the right conditions, but time is crucial since all operations need to be fast and efficient.
If among the receiving requirements for suppliers the use of RFID technology is already in place this could really help, otherwise when a shipment arrives, an RFID tag can be attached to the single item or the entire pallet and help in subsequent warehouse processes. From receiving on the accountability for goods is on the warehouse.
RFID IN PUT AWAY
Put away is about moving goods to the most optimal warehouse storage location, according to space and travel time optimization: a solid warehouse management system must rely on consistent and accurate data, both data collection and on-going data analysis.
In this step RFID tags may bring great simplification as through their internal memories data can be stored and modified along the processes and real-time data can be sent to the warehouse management system, for analysis purposes.
RFID IN STORAGE AND INVENTORY
In a warehouse, useless to say, all goods must be stored in the appropriate space, so in this phase what is crucial is storage utilization (above all in case of quick growth or peaks or slow sales) and control of goods.
Thanks to RFID tags it’s possible to know exactly where an item is, at each moment, from arrival to exit.
Moreover, without human intervention, tracking errors are widely reduced and the inventory process is as fast and precise as possible.
With RFID readers and gateways operating costs are also reduced.
RFID IN PICKING AND PACKING
Pick and pack refer to the process that collects goods stored in the warehouse and prepare them for shipment to the customer.
These steps are really critical since they shape the final customer satisfaction and above all because they are the costliest processes inside warehouses, so that reducing operating costs at these points will have a significant impact on efficiency and overall profits.
Imagine that movements between pick locations may account up to 50% of a picker’s time.
Technologies like RFID in such operations, where human touch is highly required, will help employees to save countless working hours by determining the real-time, exact location of an item and by guiding them to the preparation of the correct and complete packing lists.
RFID IN SHIPPING
If all previous activities in the warehouse were successful, above all the packing one, it’s highly probable that also shipping can be successful and bring the right product to the right customer, at the right time, safely and accurately.
A good customer experience depends on it.
A technology like RFID can help at lowering costs and reducing errors since all information about the most optimal carrier and transport method and time for shipping can be associated to the tag, read and updated in case of changes, and enriched until the final step, when goods come to the final customer’s hands.
DO YOU STILL HAVE ANY DOUBTS ABOUT RFID?
We’ve been through main warehouse processes to highlight RFID benefits in terms of accuracy, speed, efficiency, impact in lowering costs whereas any barcode use would anyway require human intervention to manually scan goods and line of sight.
If you still have doubts for your specific warehouse management application, please get in touch with our Inventag Team: we are there to help you!
Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re just interested in other RFID applications, we will soon deep dive in some others on inventag.it and our LinkedIn page: follow us!
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