Although many companies are now using sophisticated Warehouse Management Systems integrated with Supply Chain Systems, Enterprise Systems, and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), the movement and tracking of goods through the manufacturing and supply chain process is still a complex procedure which is difficult to manage. In many instances, the goods being distributed to the retailer must go through one or more third party distribution processes, before they reach their final destination.
Currently, most material tracking systems employ two-dimensional barcodes that must be close to and within the “line of sight” of the barcode reader. This requires manual scanning or a conveyor-like process to position the barcode and scanner. Barcodes can run the risk of getting wet or scratched due to mishandling or a harsh environment, which often prevents accurate reading by the scanner. Manual intervention is labor intensive, costly, and error-prone. In addition, scheduled scanning or manual methods cannot ensure the inventory remains up-to-date due to oversights, errors and internal shrinkage.
Using an RFID solution, inventory can be updated in real time without product movement, scanning or human involvement. Our fully automated system allows inventory status to be determined and shipping & receiving documents to be generated automatically. The system can also trigger automatic orders for products that are low in inventory.
Benefits of using RFID Systems include: total asset visibility, full inventory history, reduced inventory-stocking levels, facilitating Just-in-Time deliveries, full process control for products in the facility, reduced lead-time and cross docking time, improved sort/pick rate, reduction is storage and shelf space, improved security, reduced errors and overall reduced cost of operations.
As in many other RFID solutions, there are primarily two different approaches to Warehouse Inventory Management; one, using passive RFID tags or transponders, and the other, active tags. Passive tag have no power source; however when a reader sends a single a magnetic coil inside the RFID tag is “powered” allowing the tag to transmit its information. Active tags, on the other hand are battery powered and are able to transmit data directly to an RFID reader or interrogator. A variety of factors will impact the decision to utilize a specific tag type including environmental conditions, application, and required read accuracy.
The full solution for the Inventory tracking application will contain three main RFID components: RFID Tags or transponders, RFID Readers interrogators, and software to collect and manage the RFID data.