We are in a whole new industrial age – the 4th industrial revolution. Some say we are living in an “on-demand” economy. Everyone wants super speedy fulfillment, delivery, and return/exchange and they wanted it yesterday. Consumerists’ mindset for “now” and “more” and “faster” will only continue to rise. As will customization and personalization because we are also living in a time of individualization. We all want to celebrate and express our individual style or preferences and we do it through the brands we buy, the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the consumables we purchase. So, the question for you is whether your warehouse is already equipped to handle the extreme asset and product identification, tracking and management that comes with this on-demand landscape.
It may be time for you to consider implementing RFID technology into your systems and operations so that you can identify, track, and manage all the assets that are going to be coming and going from your warehouse at lightning speed without skimping on precision.
RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. RFID tags and labels are commonly used in a wide variety of applications which require products to be traced. As such, they are a critical piece to the effectiveness of that product or assets supply chain. RFID tags are superior to barcodes in their ability to read from a long distance and being able to store significantly more information than simple barcodes. This means that RFID technology can improve data accuracy and collect information without requiring a direct line of sight between the tag and the reader. RFID tags are incredibly useful for more complex operations where a barcode simply cannot meet the needs because they go beyond that simple data capture. Because of RFIDs long-range capability and larger data capture, they are a higher price tag than the traditional barcode, but the return is much greater.
RFID AND MAKING YOUR WAREHOUSE READY FOR THE FUTURE
There are several benefits to incorporating RFID technology into your warehouse operations. You can increase your operational efficiency, eliminate human error, and reduce capital costs. Beyond that, RFID technology grants you access to real-time data which offers insight for better decision making. Considering this in context of our “on-demand” economy and the high demands in fulfillment about to barrel down your warehouse– RFID supports and assists the operational capacity that will be required for precise and efficient asset management and tracking. With RFID technology you’ll be able to more easily scan high-cost items or difficult-to-reach items. You’ll also be able to store more information and integrate with sensors and GPS technology to provide information on the condition and location of your assets. With the ability to generate real-time alerts and alarms, if assets are moved into unauthorized locations or removed from the building, you’ll improve your asset security.
ZEBRA’S RFID TECHNOLOGY
For RFID technology you want to turn to Zebra. They are the pioneer and leader, dating back to the mid-1990s when smart-label technology first came onto the scene. They’ve been playing a central role in RFID technology and defining global standards since then. Choosing which Zebra RFID technology comes down to what is best suited for your operation. Each aspect of an RFID solution is vital to its overall efficiency, but RFID readers tend to get the most attention. RFID readers can automate some of the more time-consuming processes and provide insight into an entire organization’s operations. There are two main types of RFID readers: fixed and handheld.
Fixed RFID readers help you achieve maximum visibility. You can identify where items are in your facility and provide an added layer of intelligent inventory management from production through to the loading dock. There is Zebra’s FX9600 and FX7500. The FX9600 is great for visibility and efficiency within rugged environments and loading docks. The FX7500 has a network architecture for fast and easy deployment for RFID and back-end applications within the retail, warehouse, manufacturing, and transportation industries.
The ATR7000 RTLS reader is a new class of RFID reader that offers advanced Zebra-only technology. With this reader you can see where inventory, forklifts, equipment, workers are located and if they are on the move (plus what direction they’re heading). This means your customers can identify, locate, and track assets in real time and receive real-time alerts thereby improving your compliance and loss prevention.
It’s also worth mentioning that there are combination fixed reader and antenna solutions. A RFID Combination Fixed Reader/Antenna solution allows you the visibility of your inventory on the shelves (provided by the standard fixed reader) with tracking the items as they travel in, through and out of your facility (powered by the antenna). These combination solutions are great whether you are in retail, distribution, or manufacturing and designed for every area in your facility from main building entry to exit areas, receiving and loading docks, back rooms and warehouses.
Handheld RFID readers and mobile computers help your business achieve optimum visibility and real-time processing information. They’ve proven to be extremely valuable in that they extend a network’s visibility beyond the walls of the warehouse. For handheld readers there are several Zebra options. There is the MC3330R, MC3390R, RFD8500 Sled, MC9190-Z. While each of them has distinctive applications, any one of them help your business maximize the speed and efficiency of your operations. They are designed to do business for you with their style, functionality, and ease-of-use.
The ever-quickening “on-demand” economy isn’t going to slow down or go away, so are you prepared?
The requirement for more, faster, and “customize it” is already happening. Your warehouse needs to be equipped to handle asset and product identification, tracking and management. We have a selection of leading Zebra FRID technology solutions designed to help you manage your warehouse for today and tomorrow. For more information on the solutions we offer, contact us.