RFID Tags for Inventory Management


RFID Tags for Inventory Management

RFID tags use electromagnetic energy to communicate with a reader. When a tag is within range of a reader, it turns “on” and begins transmitting data to the reader.

RFID provides retailers a number of benefits that improve operations and cut costs. However, there are also concerns about privacy and security that should be taken seriously.

Improved Inventory Accuracy

Managing inventory and assets is a crucial aspect of any business. Using RFID tags, companies can accurately and efficiently track components, WIP, and final products, providing end-2-end real-time visibility and traceability throughout the supply chain. This greatly reduces product loss, misplacement and inventory differences compared to traditional barcode labeling methods.

Performing manual inventories is expensive and time consuming. Incorporating RFID into the process eliminates this expense and can increase accuracy as well.

For example, a retail brand could use RFID to verify incoming shipments and instantly compare that data with the store’s inventory management system. This allows the company to immediately know what’s on the shelves and how much of it is needed for replenishment, saving a great deal of money in both labor costs and storage space.

In the same vein, retailers can use RFID to track items as they move from the backroom to the sales floor. This gives the retailer a clearer understanding of which products are performing best at specific areas on the sales floor and how to better plan their next moves.

In addition, RFID can help prevent internal theft in stores. A common form of theft is called “sweethearting,” in which a store employee hands over unauthorized free or discounted merchandise to acquaintances. RFID tags have built-in security features that prevent staff from removing the tag or taking more than one item during an inspection.

Reduced Cycle Counting Time

By relying on RFID technology, companies can dramatically reduce cycle counting time. This is because unlike traditional bar code scanning, RFID doesn’t require a direct line of sight between the tag and the reader.

Instead, a small radio transmitter called an interrogator emits a wireless signal that a tag (transponder) responds to by emitting a tiny electromagnetic pulse. A reader’s antenna detects this RFID Tag pulse and converts it to data, which is then stored on the reader’s computer or database.

With this technology, retailers can instantly pinpoint the location of any item in a store—including when it’s been returned. This information can be used to deter fraudulent returns, and even help identify the person who made the return.

Another benefit of RFID is that it can be used to track products throughout the supply chain. This allows manufacturers to optimize production and make informed purchasing decisions. In addition, it can increase inventory accuracy by reducing slow moving or dead stock.

RFID can also improve customer service by enabling “buy online, pickup in-store.” This feature is popular with customers who want to take advantage of the convenience and low prices of online shopping but prefer to exercise more control over their purchases. A 2021 survey found that 56% of consumers had used click-and-collect services at least once.

Improved Customer Service

The ability to track items at the item level enables better customer service. For example, return fraud is reduced by making it impossible for customers to resell stolen or worn products. Another way that RFID improves customer service is by making it easy for employees to find specific products within a large inventory without wasting time searching for them. This can be especially helpful in a retail environment when the number of customers is high.

RFID tags typically cost a few cents each and are the size of sticky labels. They are affixed to objects that need tracking, such as milk cartons and jacket collars. Most tags use passive technology, in which the chip is powered by radio waves transmitted from an RFID reader. Active RFID tags, which require their own transmitter and power source, are more expensive and are used for RTLS and other continuous monitoring applications, such as tracking patients or theme park attendance.

LF RFID readers operate at 3 to 30 MHz and have a read range of up to 1 m (3 ft). Higher-frequency (HF) and ultra-high-frequency (UHF) readers are able to scan multiple tags simultaneously, such as a stack of tagged books or pallets moving through a reader gate. Most RFID tags are unaffected by water, but the read range of some is diminished if they are wet.

Increased Security

RFID is an excellent technology for tracking inventory, but it has other applications as well. For example, it RFID Tag can be used to help with click-and-collect services, which allows consumers to purchase items online and pick them up in-store. This is a great way to increase customer service while reducing backroom work and eliminating shipping costs.

It can also be used to help prevent fraudulent returns. By using an RFID tag with each item, retailers can identify if the returned item has ever been sold to anyone else and at what price. This will allow them to pinpoint the source of the return and deter scammers from taking advantage of customers.

Moreover, it can be used to improve manufacturing efficiency by enabling flexible production. This is because data can be transmitted directly to a tag without the need for an intermediary system or cable. This makes it easier to track and analyze production data to optimize output and improve quality.

However, implementing an RFID system does come with some technical limitations that could impede adoption in healthcare. These include interoperability issues, system errors and interference with medical equipment. Fortunately, advances in the field are helping to address these challenges. Specifically, new technologies have allowed for more tag options for difficult-to-tag objects as well as improved methods for affixing and fixing RFID tags.

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