RFID Implementation in Warehouse Management Systems
The ultra high frequency passive RFID revolution began in the warehouse. Earlier there was item marking in retail before races were being timed. Before RFID enabled access control took hold, there were tags being slapped on the pallets and cartons in the warehouses of consumer good manufacturers. The early carton based compliance programs never matured as at that time, the technology wasn’t reliable enough. In the delta of value of barcoding on cartons was not wide enough to continue on that pathway. But, times have changed. With today’s 100% read rates RFID technology is generating massive amounts of data and creating real efficiency in the warehouses.
Even five years ago, encoding large number of tags on a high speed conveyance line was next to impossible. However, with the improved sensitivity of today’s RFID systems, hundreds of RFID tags inside a carton can be programmed instantly with a unique product code as it moves past the antenna even on a conveyor moving at 500 to 600 feet per minute. Also, the system knows the type and quantity of the item that should be within each container. If an extra item is included or if an item is missing, the container can be sent off to the rejection shoot. This is incredibly more efficient than what a human labour can.
RFID implementation in warehouses has dwarfed barcodes and has become an inevitable technology in the recent years. RFID tags can store 100 times more data than barcodes can and the readers can read upto 200 tags at a time. Also the tags are not blocked by metals or water so, they don’t really have to be visible in order to be tracked. Right from pick up to delivery, RFID tags have made the every step of the fulfilment process efficient. In this page we will discuss more on the importance of RFID in warehouse management.
How RFID Warehouse Solutions Work?
RFID infrastructure products include fixed scanners, handheld computers, mobile readers, antennas and tags. The RFID chips, in general, are embedded into the product packages. Every time the packages enter the range of the RFID scanner, the embedded chip is read and the product is tracked. RFID solutions help you track goods on a real-time basis without putting in so much labour hours. Eventually, these solutions help you reduce labour cost, increase inventory accuracy, decrease chances of theft and expedite delivery.
Why RFID warehouse solutions are better than barcodes?
RFID’s ability to track items in warehouse Real-time Location services (RTLS) is the most popular one amongst all its use-cases. Unlike the barcode scanners that reads one product at a time, RFID scanners can detect multiple products in its range. Also, you don’t need an employee to manually scan the tags and document the details as in the case of barcodes. The entire process is automated in RFID leveraged warehouse systems. Shipments can be easily detected as they pass through the dock doors. This makes the shipment processes efficient both in terms of cost and time.
Another big advantage of RFID in warehouse management over barcodes is its ability to let you to check the items without opening the box up. This would help you ensure that the items are sent out correctly and minimizes the likelihood of returns due to the delivery of wrong items.
RFID implementation in warehouses makes it easy to locate items. Whenever you need to pick up an item from there, you just have to check the database and the system would lead straight through to it. Besides inventory tracking RFID systems also help you save a lot of time in invoicing. RFID tracking systems also minimizes threat vulnerabilities. Warehouses are coming up with more innovative ideas to make more use of RFID technology.
Benefits of RFID warehouse solutions
• Reduce labour hours which would eventually cut down the labour costs from 5% to 40%.
• Elimination of human error that results in decreased data discrepancy and increased accuracy.
• Reduction in returns that happen due to wrong product delivery.
• Quicker fulfilment which increases CSAT (Customer Satisfaction).
• Automated product tracking that allows customers to stay updated with their orders.
• Reduction in theft vulnerability due to real-time tracking.
Numbers you can’t ignore about RFID warehouse solutions
• Manufacturers who implement RFID into their supply chain witness an 80% improvement in picking accuracy and 90% improvement in receiving time.
• Warehouses take their inventory visibility from 2% to 20% after leveraging RFID technology.
• On an average, companies that deploy RFID in warehouse management have witnessed their inventory accuracy count skyrocket from 63% to 95%.
• With RFID tagged merchandise, manufacturers can scale up inventory count rates from 200 to 12,000 items/hour.
• The market of RFID solution providers in India is growing at a CAGR of 25% till date. Especially, RFID companies in Bangalore seem to have good traction in the market.
• 8 billion RFID tags were purchased globally in 2017.
• 96% of retailers in the US including Target, Kohls, Macy’s, Levis, Adidas and Lululemon tag apparels with RFID out of which Macy’s has plans of tagging 100% of the items with RFID. Target has deployed RFID technology in more than 1600 of its stores.