RFID uses a scanner for inventory management that communicates to the tags via radio waves. The reader reads the data through the microchip present inside the tag, and it can also write data to make real-time updates using the same. Each tag is wrapped up in a material like plastic for protection and can be affixed to surfaces for tracking. RFID handheld readers are also available for mobile RFID systems.
Pros Of Using RFID For Inventory Management
- Requires No Line Of Sight: Counters may not need to lift each item to see it or visually count it since the technology does not need line of sight. So workers do not have to find the location of the label on the box before aiming the barcode scanner at it or deal with missing or damaged barcodes. It would be valuable, especially in dense environments, so users don’t have to bend under the table or climb scaffolding.
- More Accurate Counts: Since the counting system is less dependent on users scanning the items individually, the counts are typically more accurate.
- Reduced Labor Costs: The tags automatically generate and report information when scanned by the AIDC system, which reduces labor costs.
- Improves Visibility: You get better visibility across the supply chain since more information is processed and captured.
- Contain More Information: With access to more information, you can track and trace products that keep consumers, retail partners, and others in the supply chain informed and in the loop.
- Faster Inventory: RFID has the ability to read multiple items simultaneously, so RFID tags can process and catalog information faster than even the best handheld barcode scanners leading to higher inventory counts within a short span of time.
- Less Susceptible To Damage: RFID tags are made up of plastic or hard shells, and due to this more durable construction, they are less likely to get damaged during the packaging, shipping, and receiving process.
- Prevents Overstocking/ Understocking: RFID tags eliminate any stocking issues since everything is tracked, and it also improves the security within the facility.
Cons Of Using RFID For Inventory Management
- Higher Costs: The continued use of barcodes requires significantly less cost than adapting to implement RFID tags.
- Interference Issues: The transmission in an RFID tag may encounter interference by packages with certain materials like heavy metals, sources of radio waves, etc.
- Incompatibility: RFID tags are not regulated by any authority, so information standards in one region may not match the ones in the other region. To navigate these barriers in other countries, distribution centers, or warehouses, you might need to invest heavily in transcribing APIs or EDIs.
The use of RFID technology for inventory management does offer some tangible benefits that may be compelling. However, a lot needs to be done to streamline the process and a major part of the challenge is to determine ways to scale this solution in a cost-effective manner, while being able to capitalize on its benefits. But if your business has the budget to implement this technology, we can help you enhance the inventory management processes.