Mandates have been around for a long time. Mandates can include packaging requirements, expiration dates, pricing, and more. As a small to medium sized business, mandates can seem intimidating and costly. The more contracts you have, the greater your chances of having mandates to comply to.
As technology has improved, so have customer expectations and mandate requirements. As customers change their demands for greater convenience and speed, businesses must incorporate the technology that can help meet those demands. RFID technology was expensive in the beginning and SMBs did not see the benefit of spending a lot of money on something without proof that it would benefit their own operations.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. paved the way for other larger companies with the start of their RFID mandate. In the beginning, Wal-Mart spent a lot of time researching and testing RFID usage. For more information on the Wal-Mart RFID mandate, do download the RFID Mandate white paper from Imprint.
As the cost of RFID started decreasing, more larger businesses started incorporating mandates for use. RFID has been proven to:
- Enhance the efficiency and accuracy of inventory management,
- Have greater data storage capabilities than standard barcodes,
- Be more durable than standard barcodes,
- Provide greater visibility throughout a supply chain for accountability, and
- Automate processes to ease labor shortages.
What’s in a Mandate
Simply put, a mandate is a contractual requirement to sell your products to a larger company. Mandates have been around for years, describing how products and materials are to be packaged, priced, displayed, or even requiring products to be ethically and environmentally friendly. What is in a mandate can vary by company and customer expectations.
A RFID mandate is just another step in continuing business in today’s economy. RFID has quickly become the solution to many problems companies have experienced with omnichannel commerce increasing consumer demands. RFID technology has been around for over 15 years, changing how businesses manage:
- Regulatory requirements (government)
- Labor shortages
- Loss prevention
- Supply chain constraints
- Inventory management
- Product Authentication
- Temperature-sensitive monitoring
When a mandate is released, it should provide all the information you need to comply, including:
- Program requirements and overall objectives
- Regulatory standards (e.g., GS1, ANSI, ISO)
- Timeline for implementation with dates and deadlines
- Testing requirements and/or validation steps
- Resources for your businesses (e.g., Auburn, RAIN Alliance, GS1)
RFID Technology Review
RFID technology uses a miniature chip and attaches an antenna inlay to a hard, physical tag or is inlaid within a principal label for identification purposes. The miniature chip within an RFID tag is where all the data and information of a product is stored. The chip and antenna make up the RFID inlay, which is kept within tag material, which can then be encased and mounted to a physical item (device, equipment, etc.).
Each RFID 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 does not have to be in the line of sight of the scanner to be read. RFID readers can be active (always awake) or passive (asleep until pinged with a signal).
RFID has encryption and password protection features and can be securely accessed to be changed throughout the life of the tag. Data storage on an RFID tag is available in various capacities, including 96-bit, 128-bit, and 512-bit. For more information and answers to common questions, please refer to Imprint’s RFID technology FAQ blog.
Large Companies with RFID Mandates
Wal-Mart is, perhaps, the most widely known for having started the RFID mandate movement. Wal-Mart spend years researching the impacts of incorporating RFID and found the benefits to far outweigh the costs for themselves and their suppliers. The benefits have created other companies to start implementing RFID mandates, such as:
- BJC HealthCare
Using RFID Tags on Products
The versatility of RFID tags makes them suitable for a variety of products for tracking. While typically applied to pallets, high value inventory and luxury items are quickly joining the RFID tagging mandate. RFID tags make it easier to track items for loss prevention and theft management. Some of the more popular uses for RFID tags include:
- Sporting goods
- Automotive batteries
- Home – bedding, bath, décor, etc.
Imprint Enterprises has decades of experience in RFID solutions – from printers, readers, and tags/labels.
The goal of Zebra Technologies and Imprint Enterprises is to optimize your technology to help you be more dynamic and profitable. They strive to build life-long partnerships so you have someone you can count on.
Zebra Technologies is an award-winning company and Imprint Enterprises is a trusted partner for Zebra. Together, they bring you good, better, and best options to help your business step forward while considering future possibilities.
Ensuring the future longevity of your warehouse is what makes Zebra Technologies the best in the industry and is why Imprint Enterprises is a Premiere Solution Partner with Zebra.