What is RFID?
RFID is an acronym for radio-frequency identification. RFID uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. At a simple level, an RFID system consists of a tiny radio transponder, a radio receiver and a transmitter. In warehouse management, the technology is used for identifying products and assets and capturing data such as inventory numbers.
An RFID system used in warehouse management is composed of tags, labels, printers, and readers (handheld or fixed). RFID labelling technology is designed to support inventory control and processing; it is most commonly used on totes, crates and products. The RFID labels enable computer systems to automatically keep track of quantities, sizes and variants throughout storage, production and distribution processes.
The main advantages of RFID technology
- Increases operational efficiencies
The most notable advantage that RFID systems have over systems that use barcode asset tracking software is that RFID tag data (or RF tag data as it is sometimes referred to)can be read outside of the line of sight and doesn’t need to be aligned to an optical scanner. This means multiple tags can be read at any one time. The tracking of people or products can be done from anywhere within a specified range which maximises speed and efficiency.
- Human error is eradicated delivering higher efficiencies
No human intervention is necessary to read data and RFID systems can monitor large areas of assets. This eliminates the errors that arise from manual data logging and product replenishment.
Relocating resources to more productive work can be achieved with automated RFID processes and reduced manual labour. Consequently more production capacity will be available with the same number of employees.
- Assets easily tracked and capital costs reduced
RFID provides an easy and relatively inexpensive way of keeping track of company assets and equipment. Maintaining tight control of your stock or assets is the easiest way to keep costs low. The automatic identification of products makes inventory quicker and enables the automatic ordering of products. In addition, when an item is moved within your facility, it updates the computer system as to its exact location in the warehouse.
- Speeds up logistics and supply chains
RFID technology facilitates the enhancement of product visibility and traceability in different phases of logistics and warehouse management. The technology also increases product circulation, optimises the material availability of stocks, while minimising investments.
- Withstands tough environments without ‘line of sight’.
RFID hard tags encapsulated in plastic, ceramic and even some metals, can withstand tough conditions that barcode labels often can’t, such as high humidity, drastic temperature fluctuations, exposure to chemicals and sunlight, rough handling and extremely high or low temperatures. For this reason they are often the ideal choice for industrial and engineering applications, especially where line of sight ‘barcode’ data capture is not possible.
- Real-time data speeds up operations
Data about inventory and product location can be easily tracked and real-time data is accessible with RFID technology. This provides a way of delivering client-specific data about deliveries quickly. It also enables real-time identification of problems that can be dealt with immediately, and this often saves costs too.
- Offers insights for improvement and new developments
Real-time business-critical data can be analysed with RFID technology. This expedites the improvement of workflows and decision making. It also opens up new opportunities for the development of operations and competitiveness.
Understanding the different automatic identification label types and their benefits
For more detailed information on the specific types and benefits of RFID tags and labels for warehouse management take a look at our other articles:
- How to choose the right RFID tag and why RFID is now a viable option
- The benefits of RFID labelling for warehouse management
Take your warehousing to the next level
If you’re looking to streamline your warehouse operation, then RFID technology can provide extremely significant gains.
Finding a trusted supplier – inotec UK
As an asset identification specialist, inotec has vast experience in delivering RFID labelling for a variety of products and applications. The company has the added advantage of its unique high-tech R&D laboratory where RFID labels are tested under diverse conditions. This has led inotec to become renowned as Europe’s most trusted, experienced and reliable asset identification supplier.
For more information on RFID labels visit our RFID product page.