Whether it’s a small or a large warehouse and distribution center, the priority is to have a top-notch RFID inventory control system for better inventory accuracy. When integrated into a warehouse or distribution center, RFID technology can streamline and automate various processes. For instance, it helps in the automation of order fulfillment, receiving, and delivery, as well as shipping.
Just like any other technology, RFID tags also have some pros and cons that we’ll discuss in this article. But before that let’s find out what RFID is.
Definition of RFID Tags
The RFID tags use radio waves for scanning and communicating for better inventory management. This tag comes with a microchip, which enables the reader to communicate with the data. It also helps with the writing of data onto the tag while updating it in real-time. Each tag is enveloped in plastic or paper material for protection. It can even affix to various surfaces for easy tracking.
Many RFID tags are useful for tracking but these are not powered by batteries. These are passive RFID tags that run via radio waves from readers. There are also active RFID tags but these are expensive and useful for long-range tracking of logistics.
Pros of Using RFID for Inventory System
Here are the benefits of the RFID inventory system:
1. Improves visibility and quicker scanning:
Since RFID tags don’t depend on “line-of-sight” scanning, such as barcodes, it is easy to read them from a distance. This improves faster inventory processing while improving visibility into the inventory. It even offers frequent updates and quickly scans locations.
2. Lesser labor costs:
With an RFID inventory system, warehouses can quickly check in verify shipments and count the number of items in an inventory. This time saving helps you reduce the cost of RFID inventory in the long run.
3. Automatic tracking of returnable assets
There is a significant capital investment in protecting returnable assets, like pallets and containers. The use of an RFID inventory system enables you to track these returnable assets with ease. Meanwhile, it helps in increasing the visibility of inventory in various locations.
Cost of Installing RFID Inventory System
Passive RFID tags cost somewhere around 5 to 15 U.S. cents per chip. But the costs can increase for these tags if the housing has special protection needs against the interference of metal objects.
On the other hand, active RFID tags cost around $5 and $15 each. Their cost is around 100 times more than the passive tags. It is because they need a local power source and are also more involved in property design.
How Does RFID Work in a Warehouse?
The major difference between RFID active and passive systems is how they run during operation. However, the basic workflow of both these tags is the same in a warehouse. Before shipping to a warehouse, it’s integrated with an RFID tag or chip. This RFID tag has all the important information about the specific item.
Whenever the shipment reaches its destination, the RFID tag transmits the information to the installed readers in the warehouse. The readers will be present in strategic locations inside the receiving and storage spaces for picking up the available signal. The data is transmitted via electromagnetic waves and relayed from readers to the central warehouse management system. Further, the information modifies and gets back to the RFID tags for recalling it later at any time. It enables warehouse operators to automate various tasks, like advanced inventory transactions and real-time asset counts.
If you need an effective RFID inventory management system, it’s best to buy it from a professional manufacturer or supplier. Contact the best RFID technology company near you for upgrading your inventory management approach.