Radio frequency identification device (RFID) technology has pushed farther into the shipping and logistics industry through new uses and some new partnerships.
One of the key expansions for RFID come from RFID technology providers making deals with manufacturers to add the technology at the initial order level, helping companies and their customers track products throughout the shipment lifecycle.
Barcoding Inc. and Marlin Steel Wire Products recently added automatic inventory tracking and production in materials handling process by tagging Baltimore-based Marlin’s steel product orders including wire steel baskets, sheet metal fabrications, and wire forms, before the shipping process begins.
The RFID-tagged baskets allow users to track high value items throughout the entire process - from creation and movement in and out of the basket to their deployment into separate portions of the materials requirement plan.
The goal of these deals is to generate total inventory visibility even as pieces within an inventory are dispersed across multiple verticals.
Part of the visibility provided by RFID tags comes with the myriad of devices that can read the tags for information.
Dubai-based Hexomatrixx, which provides supply chain and logistics services to the petroleum and petro chemical industries, has taken a step forward with its services by integrating RFID readers into smartphones. It tested the devices in a variety of markets and settings with plans for a major push in India soon.
Raghu Menon, chief executive officer of Hexomatrixx, said the goal of adding RFID to smartphones and devices that attach to smartphones, is for the technology to interact with other systems, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Hexomatrixx's devices interact with multiple systems and send information across them, allowing for better real-time data and inventory information.
Many warehouses already have forklifts with sensors that allows the operator to read the RFID label on the pallet they’re moving and receive information as to where it is headed. By putting RFID on a device that individuals always have in hand will speed some manual checks and other processes without the need to invest in new hardware and related infrastructure requirements.
For now, the potential of RFID in supply chain management is huge, especially in the manufacturing, life sciences, and retail industries for asset tracking, ensuring security, verifying processes, and giving better access to data that can remove bottlenecks along the way. - Geoff Whiting