RFID Tracking Is Making Our Supply Chain Stronger than Ever
(Photo : RFID Tracking Is Making Our Supply Chain Stronger than Ever)

Gone are the days when supply chain professionals had to put their shipments on a truck, ship, train, or airplane and hear nothing until they arrived at the other side. These days, supply chain and logistics professionals are using RFID chips and GPS tracking devices to follow shipments and keep tabs on them throughout the shipping and warehousing process. 

RFID tracking tags may not be as ubiquitous as barcodes in the shipping and logistics industry, but they're a lot easier to implement and offer a lot less room for error. Plus, RFID technology can be combined with other tracking technologies to provide additional capabilities in the same tag, like GPS tracking, or shock and vibration detection. Thanks to RFID tracking, logistics professionals can more easily track shipments coming in and out of warehouses, monitor the conditions products are exposed to during shipment, deter theft, prevent shipping delays, and minimize shipping damage.

Faster, More Efficient Warehousing

Warehousing the old-fashioned way, by hand, is a time-consuming chore that takes a lot of labor and leaves a lot of room for human error to cause issues down the line. With RFID tracking technology, warehouse employees no longer have to document a shipment's receipt by hand, manually write down where in the warehouse it's stored, and manually check out the shipment when it leaves the warehouse. Now, RFID scanners positioned at the entrance to the warehouse can automatically scan every shipment as it arrives, track its location in the warehouse, and check it out when it leaves for the next leg of shipping. That means a lot less labor for warehouse employees, and much less potential for warehousing mistakes that could cause supply chain issues later on.

RFID technology is perfect for streamlining warehousing processes because, unlike barcode scanners, RFID readers don't need to be lined up with the tags in order to detect them. Furthermore, RFID readers can detect many tags at once, and from a much greater distance. Employees in pick-and-pack warehouses will save a ton of time using RFID to detect the packages they need automatically, and even in warehouses that don't need to perform that level of interaction with the shipments, RFID tracking ensures that shipment data is updated on the system in real time. We have full RFID label solutions for many different industries.

Shipment Tracking and Monitoring

Shipping damage can be a huge source of overhead for companies, and that's why many are working to eliminate it using tags that combine impact and vibrational data, location data, and even temperature data. RFID tags enable logistics professionals to track a shipment's location as it moves through the supply chain, and identify whether the shipment has experienced any impact events, prolonged periods of heavy vibrations, extreme temperatures, or other conditions that could cause damage to the shipment. These tags are popular for tracking exceptionally valuable and delicate items, like medical equipment, but they're also used to track everyday items that are susceptible to shipping damage.

 

Food Safety Gains

Food manufacturers were among the first companies to start implementing RFID tracking for shipments over a decade ago, as they saw the technology's potential to keep food safe during manufacturing and shipping. Companies like Dole used RFID technology to track vegetables from harvest, through processing and shipping, ensuring that they're handled safely and kept in safe conditions until they reach consumers. French vineyards use RFID tracking technology to ensure to track batches of champagne through the disgorgement and settlement process, so they know that the bottles of wine that come out the labeling process at the other end, ready for sale, are the same bottles that went in. And, with monitoring for temperature controls and delays, manufacturers can tell if perishable items, like milk and dairy products, remained at a safe temperature throughout shipping and didn't, for example, get left unattended on a loading dock for hours in the hot sun.

RFID technology has revolutionized shipping and logistics, and as the technology becomes more affordable, easier to implement, and more ubiquitous, it's only expected to streamline shipping and logistics more and more. With the world growing ever more interconnected with each passing day, these supply chain improvements will bring us all closer together -- and give us a better world to share.