Role of RFID Technology in Supply Chain Management


RFID Technology in Supply Chain Management

Although RFID (radio frequency identification) systems are finding their usage extensively in asset management and theft prevention, they are also bringing about gigantic changes in the field of SCM (supply chain management). RFID technology allows SCM professionals to maintain a proper record of their inventory while it is moving through a warehouse and fulfillment process. This helps in ensuring efficient delivery and also lowers the expenses.

Tagging:
For using RFID location tracking systems within SCM chains, the associated items must first be tagged with small transponder chips. Although warehouses apply such chips mainly to pallets, it is also possible to use the tags for tracking individual items. The chips generally come equipped with antennae, and sometimes even a power source. Each of them emits a particular number, and the numbers correspond to entries in the database of the pertinent SCM.

Readers:
Readers, also known as interrogators, normally download important data directly from the chips attached to items within a supply chain. Once the process of downloading is complete, the readers connect with the database of the supply chain for updating the location status of the items. Readers can be of different types – some scan chips only when they are in close proximity while others are capable of sensing multiple chips within a radius of 100 metres.

Warehousing:
SCM systems make use of RFID tracking solutions throughout the process of warehousing. When a particular product is initially delivered, the RFID readers or scanners verify that the invoice and the shipment match with each other. After that, the pallets are stored as well as scanned another time for confirming that they have been placed in the suitable bay. Thus when time comes to pick the products for shipment, the supply chain management systems can tell its workers where they would be able to find the correct items. Information can also be conveyed about where the products must be tracked once they are removed from their storage.

Shipping:
RFIDs are capable of closing the cycle of delivery in SCM systems. Most highly advanced supply chains can also track their shipments while they are leaving the warehouse and heading towards respective customers. Shippers often utilise RFID to make sure that the products which need to be delivered are on their designated tracks and would reach the correct locations at the right time. By deploying RFID tracking systems, shippers can maintain an accurate shipment database which simplifies the whole process of authenticating delivery and also ensuring payment.

Image Credit: vilant

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