¿What is Radio-frequency Identity (RFID) and why does it matter?


The supply chain benefits from technology to track a variety of products in real-time and with accuracy. RFID uses radio waves to identify objects wirelessly. Simply put, RFID works a lot like barcode systems, but it is much more sophisticated.

Barcode systems use a scanner that needs to align with the code, whereas RFID works using radio waves and the reader doesn’t have to be near the tag, which helps automate the supply chain operations.

RFID systems automatically collect data and store it in databases with little or no human intervention. A RFID system has three components:

  • A RFID tag or smart label.
  • A RFID reader.
  • An antenna.

The RFID tags contain a circuit and an antenna to transmit to the reader, which is also called an interrogator. Then, the reader converts radio waves into usable data that is transferred through a communication interface into a host computer system where data is stored and analyzed.

RFID technology eliminates many errors that occur in the supply chain, for example, data duplication, transcription errors, and missed items. These situations are common when large amounts of data are collected simultaneously.

Thanks to this technology, workers can keep track of objects’ statuses and whereabouts, and this allows them to keep up-to-date records.

The supply chain has many processes and checks, and RFID is a good way to ensure that they will happen accordingly. RFID technology reduces stock-outs and improves the credibility of the inventory, giving certainty that the numbers match the merchandise in warehouses. 

Thanks to RFID technology, businesses get real-time and detailed information at different stages of a product or asset’s lifecycle. With in-depth management information, companies can better plan for different operational purposes. Businesses can even make use of these insights for enhanced efficiency improvements.

A business can get a lot out of implementing RFID technology, it is recommended that companies looking to adopt it run pilot testing and comprehensive team training to ensure the correct functioning in each area.

Undoubtedly, we must keep track of technological advancements to improve the operations in the supply chain.

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