RFID/Supply Chain Precise Information Tracking – RFID Delivers Value for the Supply Chain

Author / Editor: Sachin Tare / Dominik Stephan

An increasing number of companies are turning to enterprise-wide software for process improvement and cost reduction. There is a significant opportunity to enhance these systems by adding Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) applications throughout manufacturing facilities and distribution operations. In this article, we discover how this technology can also enhance Return on Investment (ROI)...

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Businesses in a number of industries are realizing significant benefits from RFID and related bar coding technologies
Businesses in a number of industries are realizing significant benefits from RFID and related bar coding technologies
(Picture: Zebra Technologies Corporation)

Manufacturers depend on a wellcoordinated chain of events to make their operations work effectively. In addition, mail order fulfillment and distribution companies unable to provide information with their products, increasingly find themselves at a disadvantage versus their competitors.

Today’s business software packages, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), materials management, production control, and supply chain visibility applications depend on real-time data collection and identification systems to provide information crucial for optimizing processes, productivity and profits.


Benefits of Bar Codes and RFID

Participants at all points in the supply chain and manufacturing process must produce and provide timely, accurate information or productivity and profitability will suffer. Achieving supply chain visibility—being able to know where an item is within the supply chain at any point in time—is a high priority initiative within the industry. This could include a finished product, work in process or raw material, front-to-back. Companies without good information carry excess inventory to ensure they can deliver on their promise.

Replacing excess inventory with improved information reduces storage space and labor costs, expands asset utilization, increases inventory turns, enables faster billing cycles, and significantly contributes to cash flow.

RFID vs. Bar Code – Two Systems, Multiple Possibilities

Bar codes endure as the most widely used, cost-efficient, and effective tools for providing accurate data to company systems. Scanning a bar code—which produces greater than 99.9 per cent data accuracy—is a far superior method of entering data into a host system than key entry, or, worse yet, manual record keeping with pencils and forms. For companies with ERP systems, which reuse the same data for many different applications, inadvertent transcription errors on the floor can cause major problems later in inventory, planning and customer order tracking systems.

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