The same attributes that have made RFID sought after by various companies' supply chains have now led to an increased adoption by major retailers, according to CNN. The ability to track and trace products throughout the supply chain wirelessly and with more data has benefits for retailers trying to compete in an e-commerce world.
With omnichannel sales, retailers can control inventory with unbelievable accuracy. Simply waving an RFID reader over a rack of clothes can reveal the quantity, size, color and other attributes in a matter of seconds. Automated collection can also occur as items leave or enter the stockroom and the store.
Bill Connell, Macy's senior VP of logistics and operations, told CNN that with RFID, the store can count inventory up to 24 times a year. That's 12 times as often as inventory was counted with more traditional systems, and RFID does it with far greater accuracy. The technology is allowing more retailers to embrace e-commerce without running two separate companies. Inventory can easily be packaged and shipped in crates to a store or as a single item to an individual.
Often, consumers may even be comparison shopping on the Internet while in the store. If an item is listed as in stock, it's more important than ever that it actually be there. With RFID, the website can provide more up-to-date information about inventory than would be possible with more traditional systems.
RFID in the Supply Chain
While its related uses in retail are exciting, RFID is not just for companies looking to succeed in an omnichannel world. From technology manufacturers to livestock producers, RFID chips can track products in ways that improve inventory control, reduce costs and improve the accuracy of a recall. Within the warehouse, RFID can be used with almost no training.
Vehicle-mounted, fixed and handheld RFID readers can collect data at multiple points throughout the warehouse and supply chain so that inventory can be tracked constantly. Workers can continue to do their jobs without having to perform any tasks to collect data. When this information is populated into existing ERP systems, it can be analyzed quickly and used to make even more improvements to productivity.
With RFID printers, companies can create and encode their own labels, and a wide variety of tags and labels are available.