With the improvements in inventory accuracy that radio frequency identification brings, now is the time for companies to review the technology and consider implementation, says Steve Schauer, IoT systems engineer at Barcoding Inc.
The need to know precisely what you have and in what quantity has always been important. But the pandemic heightened that requirement, Schauer says.
“The last two years have been a challenge for many supply chain and retail customers, who all of a sudden started looking into how to optimize their supply chain,” he says. The pandemic brought huge increases in online ordering and on-demand fulfillment. Retailers had to immediately know if they had a given item in stock. “Hey, I need something right now, right away. Or I thought I had more of whatever it was.”
The need to deliver an item curbside meant being able to see exactly what was available in store. “I can deliver that to them because I have the technology in place to do that,” says Schauer. “But a lot of companies realized they didn’t have that, and were really caught off guard.”
Passive RFID enables better inventory accuracy, and with speed, Schauer says. “Each item still has an identity but does not necessarily have to be line of sight and scanned individually. You can move from individual items to pallets to large containers with accuracy and speed.”
Curbside delivery proves that, he says. For example, how does a retailer deal with more orders for an item than are in stock? “Passive RFID not only enables real-time inventory management, but also has the ability to trigger reorders. It has the real-time analytics to make it a seamless process versus somebody with a spreadsheet having to check and say, ‘Hey, we need to order something pronto.’ It's already on its way.”
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