After years of hearing about RFID and the Walmart and U.S. Department of Defense mandates, I was curious to find out if RFID technology had delivered on its promises. Has RFID transformed the supply chain and eliminated out-of-stock issues?
According to a recent DC Velocity study of warehousing and distribution clients about their use of RFID technology, two-thirds have implemented an RFID project or are currently in the process of doing so. However, rather than using RFID to streamline the overall supply chain, they are using RFID to improve their internal operations such as: conducting inventory counts; monitoring inventory replenishment; locating parts or equipment within a facility; tracking parts and equipment within a case, pallet, container, or trailer; and supporting supplier-to-buyer coordination.
The survey also shared some useful practical advice:
- RFID is not merely a bar code replacement, but a way to transform your parts/equipment into wireless, identified objects.
- Before you start, consider what information you really need to gather as inputs and outputs. Otherwise, you can get bogged down with too much detail.
- Implement RFID in order to make a process improvement. Consider using a trusted consulting firm that is “product agnostic” to help you determine what you need, and to help with communication and managing the changes required for this process improvement.
- Determine the greatest business need that can be addressed with RFID. Consider the entire supply chain when calculating the overall ROI.
- Use an integrator for your first implementation with an emphasis on the business problem you are trying to solve. For a successful project, it sometimes requires a hybrid of different technologies (tags, readers, software, etc.). Choose a partner that not only knows RFID, but understands operations and infrastructure.
RFID technology has clearly delivered and is helping businesses make efficient process changes. If you are considering RFID for your supply chain, give L-Tron Corporation a call today at (800) 830-9523 x 112. Of course, feel free to leave comments below or e-mail me directly!