ANLYSIS: RFID technology in logistics & supply chain

  • ANLYSIS: RFID technology in logistics & supply chain
    Cliff Evans, owner of TrackerPoint.
  • ANLYSIS: RFID technology in logistics & supply chain
    Hozefa Saylawala, sales director-Middle East at Zebra Technologies.
  • ANLYSIS: RFID technology in logistics & supply chain
Published: 19 November 2015 - 6:03 a.m.
By: ASC Staff

“This could apply to any airport in the world,” Evans shares.

Addressing the differences between real-world RFID and a demonstration at an exhibition, Evans says: “The real-world is a highly variable environment and installations must be designed accordingly. Our site surveys are an essential part of the process of fully understanding exact project specifics before finalising the design.”

In terms of how logistics and supply chain companies can utilise RFID technology, Evans states that knowing “with 100% reliability” where an item is and when it got there in real-time, is incredibly valuable information in any supply chain.

Hozefa Saylawala, sales director-Middle East at Zebra Technologies, concurs. “Imagine a truck being filled up with cargo. The boxes are being recorded using an RFID reader, so the truck will have complete information about what has been loaded inside it and how much space is being occupied. This would allow the logistics company to better plan the cargo space inside its trucks,” he outlines.

The logistics industry has, in fact, long been a proponent of RFID technology and Saylawala says the techology’s early integration into retail logistics lead to it being more widely utlised.

“The early adopter of RFID was Walmart, which requested its suppliers to tag all the pallets that were coming into Walmart’s back stores, so it was easy and quick for them to see information of the contents of the pallets,” he asserts.

“The birth of large-scale adoption of RFID was driven by that. As of today, from a logistics perspective – whether it’s retail logistics, aviation logistics or 3PL – for every box that is tagged with an RFID label it becomes a lot easier for the logistics company to identify information related to the cargo,” he adds.

Saylawala agrees with Evans that RFID technology has applications that are accessible even for small business. “If you are running a jewellery business, for example, and on every piece of jewellery you sell there is a small RFID-enabled tag that has the item details – the weight, the dimensions, and so forth – when you need to check stock, you just need to swipe an RFID reader across the display stand to read all the tags in a matter of seconds.”

Retailers spend vast amounts of money on taking physical inventories and these counts are rarely 100% accurate.

He adds: “The business benefit and RoI will be determined by asking yourself if you will have to shut the shop for one hour or stay an hour later to check stock, or keep the business running as normal and take inventory in a matter of seconds.

“The same is true if you want to check stock levels in a warehouse.”

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