Using RFID Technology for Inventory Management

With increasing consumer and trading partner demands, effective inventory management is vital. Successful inventory management involves striking a balance between maintaining an adequate supply of products while avoiding excessive inventory. By achieving this, businesses can save on costs, reduce waste, enhance customer satisfaction, and grow the business.

What Is RFID for Inventory Management?

While there are many technologies aimed at improving inventory management, interest in Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) has been growing across industries. By using radio waves, RFID technology can track and manage inventory throughout the supply chain.

RFID tags for inventory management can be attached to products or pallets, which then automatically transmit information to RFID readers. This real-time capturing of product identity allows for inventory tracking that is more efficient, more accurate, and more transparent—from start to finish.

Apparel, sports equipment, pharmaceuticals, food products, and more can be tagged with RFID to improve the tracking of their movements throughout the supply chain.

Benefits of Using RFID for Inventory Management

Using RFID to manage your inventory has benefits at every stop along the supply chain—at manufacturing, at distribution, and at the point of purchase or consumption. By using radio waves to automatically transmit data to a tag reader, RFID can simplify product identification and capture and improve interoperability with all trading partners along the supply chain. It can also provide measurable returns on investment for brands—large, small, and everything in between.

Real-Time Visibility

RFID provides visibility and insight into real-time information about inventory levels and products’ locations. By enhancing cycle-count accuracy, it can significantly reduce out-of-stock/out-of-shelf instances and minimize shrinkage. This helps organizations use multiple channels to fulfill and distribute customer orders, also referred to as omni-channel fulfillment.

Information Accuracy

Because it does not require line of sight for scanning, RFID-tagged cases and cartons can be automatically processed for accuracy, allowing trading partners to share more-accurate information along the supply chain. By helping detect and avoid carton pack and carton shipment inaccuracies, RFID tagging can help reduce claims between trading partners and the cost of charge-backs.

Operational Efficiencies

RFID technology enables warehouse staff and other individuals to effortlessly locate products and identify if restocking is necessary. Additionally, it helps minimize errors that can arise during manual inventory processes. This means faster, easier, and more-accurate processes.

Benefits of Using RFID for Inventory Management
Get a GS1 Company Prefix

Get Started with RFID with a GS1 Company Prefix

When you license a GS1 Company Prefix, you can create serialized GTINs to be used in your Electronic Product Code (EPC), which is the unique identifier for RFID tags.

Drawbacks of RFID: Are They True?

In the past, people worried about the cost of RFID as well as the big need for equipment. But now, new advancements and more producers are making RFID cheaper, and easier to use.

Tags have been decreasing in cost and size while increasing in variety—including tags for metals and liquids. Readers have also seen advancements. Nowadays, readers can be either handheld or walk-through devices.

They also have more connectivity options, including using Wi-Fi and cellular networks, along with increased read rates—with RFID readers able to read up to 1,200 tags per second.

While it will require time, effort, and money to get an RFID inventory management system to operate properly, organizations will likely see a return on investment when properly implemented.

GS1 US University

Adding Value With RFID

Along with inventory management, RFID can bring additional benefits. Get introduced to the full value RFID can bring your organization and how GS1 Standards power it.

RFID for Apparel

The apparel industry was one of the first to adopt RFID for inventory management and in-store applications. Over the years, brands and retailers of all sizes have utilized this precise identification to meet consumer demands with omni-channel fulfillment.

RFID for Food

Effectively tracking food products at the item and case level helps ensure accurate inventory management, allowing for improved food safety, recall readiness, and supply chain visibility. RFID technology can enable this tracking by capturing needed attribute data without a line of sight.

The RFID Advantage

Read how RFID can usher in a new era of food supply chain operational efficiencies

RFID for Healthcare

Managing inventory is always an important piece to a business, but when your business involves life-saving medicine, the importance of inventory management becomes even more critical. In the healthcare industry, RFID-tagged products that arrive ready to read can help save time and support a safe, more efficient medication inventory process.

Case Study: Fresenius Kabi 

First to provide healthcare providers with EPC-enabled RFID tagging at the dosage level

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