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How RFID can improve supply chain visibility

RFID – The technology driving connected supply chains

Supply chain risks have come up in various forms within enterprises across the globe in recent times. Recent researches show that three out of every four businesses in the United States underwent supply chain disruptions because of Covid-19. Delaying in supply flows, quality issues, and system breakdowns are the crucial factors that induce risks in supply chain management. Out of all the elements, most suppliers and distributors experienced disruptions due to a lack of visibility across the supply chain ecosystem. Thus, organizations look for every possible solution to rethink the risk in supply chain logistics.

The Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, a recent instigation in supply chain management, is quite a promising solution. RFID solutions improve the supply chain visibility and avoid disruptions within the supply chain. This is the first step in achieving end-to-end supply chain visibility. It not only helps overcome the supply chain risk challenges but also deals with unforeseen crises.

How RFID transforms Global Supply Chains

RFID technology driving connected supply chains

RFID is a wireless technology that uses radiofrequency waves to identify an item in movement. Since it transmits data wirelessly using radio signals, there requires no user intervention to track or trace the products. As opposed to its counterpart, barcode scanners, RFID offers numerous possibilities to enterprises. It is employed in various sectors, including manufacturing, retail, healthcare, clothing and fashion, agriculture, security & defence etc. Before we learn how to use the RFID technology to increase the supply chain visibility, we shall understand its features. The unique capabilities of RFID technology include:

Process Automation

RFIDs eliminate the need for line-of-sight positioning of goods with the scanner for product identification. Thus, it avoids errors arising from manual stocktakes. Since product identification can be proceeded without undoing the packages, it also helps reduce human labour and save time.

Closed-loop tracking

RFIDs provide higher data capacity – a functionality that enables advanced record management of goods and inventories. RFID plays an integral role in improving the efficiency of day-to-day operations within industries. And, it supports closed-loop tracking of goods and opens up possibilities, including inventory tracking, goods management and process improvements.

Real-time visibility

The RFID tags embedded in the goods eliminate the need to scan individual items or cross-check the inventory manually. Hence, you can easily track the goods containing mixed pallets without actually undoing the packages. As a result, manufacturers could effortlessly monitor every single fast-moving goods in the warehouse. Along with its ability to collect, store and manage vast sums of data, RFID provides real-time visibility across moving goods.

Cross-docking

Based on the corporate objectives and requirements, the benefits of RFID vary from industry to industry. The RFID technology comes with a multitude of uses in the cross-docking environment. The real-time visibility into shipping docks enables workers to identify the location of individual goods, thereby appropriating loading and unloading. Resultantly, real-time tracking of receiving and shipping docks reduces the turnaround time in fulfilling the demands of customers and retailers. In other words, RFIDs make it possible to address a wide array of operational inefficiencies associated with cross-docking operations.

Possibilities of Incorporating RFIDs in businesses

Transforming supply chain visibility with RFID technology

The supply chain consists of four different phases, each of which provides numerous opportunities to deploy the RFID technology.

Integration

Integrating the supply chain operations plays a significant role in establishing a successful global supply chain. Capturing, storing, interpreting and sharing data is a lot easier with RFIDs. Hence, the organization has an account over the goods in transit. Also, this data can be shared with the other supply chain partners, including suppliers, retailers, warehouses, etc.

Operations

Supply chain managers look forward to developing a supply chain strategy that decreases operational costs and dramatically increases revenue outcomes. So, implementing RFID scanners in industries paves the way for retrieving real-time information regarding the warehouse. This information forms the basis for understanding the functioning of day-to-day business operations.

Purchasing

Purchasing is an essential aspect of supply chain logistics. It refers to the process of obtaining the necessary components to prepare the final goods involving raw materials and semi-finished goods. Enforcing RFID technology in industries gives a clear picture of the availability of in-stock goods. Additionally, collaborating with suppliers who incorporate RFID gives you a quick overview of the goods in shipment.

Distribution

Supply chain logistics counts on timely and accurate information to coordinate the movement of goods. The goods are tracked explicitly throughout the transportation from the point of origin to the destination. Therefore, RFIDs make not only streamlined distribution possible but also maintain critical quality assurance. It assists organizations in enforcing strict quality controls while delivering agreed-upon service levels to consumers.

Considering the scale of opportunities involved in the supply chain, incorporating RFID solutions in businesses helps transform supply chain visibility.

Challenges in supply chain management and how RFID improves visibility

Across the globe, customers demand access to a global inventory. The manufacturers are obliged to deliver more customized goods to the users precisely at a lower cost. The improved advancement in RFID technology unleashes innovative ways of distribution and movement of goods around the world. Though the scale of change is challenging, data sharing over supply chains through RFID attains better operational efficiencies.

In a world of fast-moving digital innovations, not all industries would be able to spend a fortune on it. Even if implementing newer technological developments has numerous potentials to transform your business, it all comes with a cost. However, it should be considered an upfront investment that capitalizes on the business’s success. When it comes to RFID as an evolving technology in the supply chain, it is worth mentioning that there has been a significant reduction in the cost of RFID components over the past couple of decades.

Unexpected disruptions in the flow of goods are prevalent in supply chains. These disruptions often occur in various forms, such as interruptions in production facilities, labour disputes, poorly functioned communication infrastructure, etc. The closed-loop tracking with RFID reduces the risks induced by supply chain disruptions. In other words, it helps supply chain workers in monitoring the problems as it happens and take corrective actions quickly.

The improved responsiveness is one of the critical technological capabilities of RFID. Its ability to diagnose disruptions, whether at the level of individual items or across the entire dock, speeds up the responses to supply chain disruptions.

Considerably, RFIDs provide myriad possibilities as opposed to their counterparts. RFID technology is the perfect solution for industries whose products do not hinder RFID readability. Indeed, the adoption of RFID technology isn’t as rapid as it seems. But, with the correct methodology that complements your business goals, any industry can leverage RFID technology to the best.

Technowave Group

Most organizations face a major difficulty while deciding on process automation. The prime concern being the choice of technological solutions that might get superseded by something more efficient. Technowave group provides an innovative Auto ID technology that meets the growing business needs in inventory tracking and warehouse automation. The broad spectrum of enterprise mobility applications from Technowave delivers fully automated in-built solutions for supply chain logistics as well. These solutions help businesses transform their end-to-end supply chain operations and enhance supply chain visibility. Techonowave’s RFID solutions let both the small-scale and large-scale industries keep track of products throughout the supply chain management cycle.

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