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With today’s on-demand economy, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is an excellent option to keep up with speedy order fulfillment and fast deliveries. Who wouldn’t want to participate in ecommerce with sales forecasted to reach about $6.54 trillion in the coming years? RFID technology has been enhanced over the past several years to be easier to design, integrate, and deploy in most industries.

Barcode labeling is a visual system, requiring a line of sight with the barcode. This can become overly complicated and can slow down processes with less than accurate access to information. In several industries, there are strict regulation and tracking requirements.

RFID in pharmaceuticals

Not meeting the regulations can cause fines, chargebacks, and other issues for a company (not to mention how reputation can make or break a company). RFID is more accurate and instantaneous, providing greater efficiency at tracking through a wall or around a corner.

With Zebra Technologies multiple options to choose from for RFID readers and software, RFID can be a smooth transition process for employees. Create the fully scaled operational ecosystem that will keep you ahead of the curve on technologies in your industry.

The Purpose of RFID Technology

Front and back image of an RFID label

RFID technology can increase operational efficiency, eliminate human error, and reduce capital costs. RFID technology also provides access to real-time data, offering insight for better decision making and precise asset management. It uses a miniature chip and attaches an antenna inlay to a hard physical tag or is inlaid with a principal label for identification purposes.

Each tag has its own unique serial number and can be read in groups instead of having to scan each one individually. RFID tags can be read from a great distance, and you don’t even have to have to be in the line of sight for the scanner to read the tag. Variable data can be stored on a RFID tag, which can be changed throughout the life of the tag.

RFID is very secure, using encryption and password protection features. Tags can be passive or active, meaning a tag will be woken up when it is pinged (passive) or it has the capability to be send out its own signal (active).

A few of the perks to using RFID include greater traceability, greater security, and increased efficiency. With the increase in RFID reliability and the decrease in costs and manhours, RFID has a greater ROI (return of investment) than ever before.

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RFID within Industries

Most industries are being challenged to enhance their technologies for greater consistency, security, and operational effectiveness, while keeping up with inventorying and tracking requirements. This includes manufacturing, warehouses/distribution, food service industries, medical device manufacturers, and pharmaceuticals.

RFID tracking gives traceability to products in almost every industry as items move through a workflow or a supply chain. This provides a greater ability for tracking what the status of the product is as it is being manufactured, such as what station it is at. It provides real-time visibility to the product without having to actively scan a visible barcode at each stage.

Pallet of product in a warehouse

RFID also can provide a hands-off approach, reducing the amount of physical touch or individual scanning of items. From an inventory standpoint, RFID can geo-locate an item so an employee can very quickly locate the item, get to the item, identify it, retrieve it, and put it into a load.

The following is an example of using RFID tags:

An RFID tag is put onto a product during manufacturing. The product is put onto a pallet, and an RFID scanner locates all the RFID tags on each item that was placed upon that pallet and confirms that all items are correctly loaded on the pallet and that it is ready for shipment. The signals found in the RFID tags are then tracked from the manufacturer to a warehouse, throughout transport, to the retailer, and into the consumer’s hands. RFID tags can be either preprogrammed or programmable as needed to fulfill its intended purpose.


RFID Equipment and Software

Man using an RFID scanner

RFID is becoming more prevalent with the advancement of geo-location, security, and automation. Hundreds of tagged items can be quickly located, authenticated, and tracked all at once by waving a handheld reader or this process is performed automatically with a fixed reader. This can reduce the amount of time needed for manual labor and routine tasks, such as an inventory count.

More advanced than typical barcode solutions, RFID tags can be read without a direct line of sight and from as far away as 65 feet (or 20 meters). RFID readers can be strategically placed throughout an entire facility (including a yard application) for a full-scale integration. For a simple integration, handheld RFID readers are similar to barcode readers.

RFID printer encoders are designed for industrial durability, with high print speeds and media roll capacity for increased productivity. Printer encoders can be easy to manage and simple to integrate into almost any facility. There is even a thermal desktop printer for both direct and transfer options.

Your current ERP, WMS, or MMS system may already be compatible for a simplified RFID integration. This allows for quicker deployment and manageability of RFID readers with a facility. Another option is to upgrade to the innovative platform system called MotionWorks® that can manage all the devices and data for you.

If there are any questions about having the right system requirements, it is always best to contact a professional. Your company needs will vary based on the specific details of your industry and what you have already in place.


Imprint Enterprises is the Zebra Technologies RFID Specialist

Man using RFID technology

Thinking about making the switch? Imprint Enterprises can help make the discussion and transition to RFID painless and seamless, giving your company a cutting technological edge on all available markets.

Reduce the amount of time it takes to track inventory, while increasing the accuracy of locating items. Automation using RFID technology can assist with labor shortages and make inventory management more hands-off.

It is imperative for a company’s bottom line to maintain compliance with industry regulations, while minimizing the potential for chargebacks and fines. And with multiple options available between hardware and software, almost any company can benefit from implementing Zebra’s leading edge RFID technology.

Monitoring your cold temperature storage doesn’t have to be a complex or complicated process. You don’t need to use reams of paper and clunky binders to take down data points. You also don’t need to rely on inefficient USB equipment that requires a computer connection to view critical data points.

Imprint Enterprises has decades of experience in RFID solutions – from printers, readers, and tags/labels.

We will support you in making the most informed decision for your enterprise and can outfit your company with RFID technology from Zebra. Contact us to begin building your comprehensive RFID solution for your enterprise.

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