Tracking and managing valuable assets is major concern for many industries especially in manufacturing and warehouse environments. Whether you’re tracking a work-in-process or general inventory and assets, the greater accuracy and closer to real-time visibility you can achieve is directly connected to business success.
RFID-based systems provide an immediate and non-line of sight means to capture your inventory or asset collection. However, the most common passive RFID tags and readers have a limited range and still require a user to scan the tags or pass them through a fixed reader portal. This is where Zebra’s WhereNET active RFID solutions can provide the range that can be used over your entire facility, yielding maximum coverage. With maximum coverage you will have real-time visibility into your entire business and operations, providing you with actionable data in order to make smarter decisions.
Despite the explosion of online choices, customers still value seeing and touching merchandise firsthand – an experience only available to them in a brick-and-mortar store. When retailers add the cutting-edge benefits of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to that unique advantage, they help close the all-to-common gaps in service, information and inventory of traditional retail and open more opportunities for sales and customer satisfaction.
RFID empowers retailers like never before, elevating shopping into an enriching and positive experience. With RFID as part of a total solution, retailers can greet customers by name, impress them with a wider selection of merchandise, and better serve them with faster assistance, deeper product information and more personalized promotions. What’s more, retailers can turn shopping time into social time with RFID enabled kiosks that enable customers to interact with their social network of family and friends. And when customers are ready to buy, so are retailers. RFID applications can identify merchandise, recognize loyalty accounts and facilitate mobile transactions. Even fulfilling customers’ needs is easier using RFID. Retailers gain real-time visibility into inventory, so they can expedite fulfillment of orders from closer locations. In short, RFID – along with advanced retail technology – can help keep customers happy and coming back in this intensely competitive industry.
When you think about RFID one of your first thoughts probably isn’t how it can benefit your pet cat. Many pets today have an RFID chip in them for identification purposes but beyond that, the technology doesn’t really come into play in their day to day lives.
Ben Milliam realized that he could enhance his cat’s general curiosity and ‘mobile’ hunting drive with the aid of some RFID tagged wiffle balls and a modified electronic feeder he embedded an RFID reader in. Now his cat, Monkey, gets a taste of being an outdoor ‘hunting’ cat in the comforts of home.
You can find a detailed breakdown of Ben’s process and how be built everything on his site.
With the introduction of NFC, RFID has become a trendy technology, but is it really a necessity for your business? Let’s go over some of the differences between barcodes and RFID:
Line of Sight – Rather than using light to collect or read a number from a barcode, radio waves are used to read a number from the RFID tag. Therefore, RFID does not require a line of sight to operate, but rather you can wave the RFID reader to read the tags.
Multiple Item Scanning – Since RFID does not require line of sight it is not necessary to present each tag to the reader separately (as is required for barcodes); instead, all tags within the range of the reader can be read almost simultaneously as they pass the reader.
Automation & Accuracy – Barcodes require a person to manually read each individual barcode, which can lead to manual read errors and mis-scanning. RFID, on the other hand, is a fully automated solution with a higher accuracy rate.
Although there is a huge savings in RFID technology from a resource, time and accuracy standpoint, we rarely recommend a business migrating from a completely manual process to a RFID solution. Companies that currently incorporate barcodes face the best return on investment from a RFID solution. Talk to one of our experts today to get a full assessment of your business.
Frick expands its SmartMark product line with the addition of the new WF-SM-SI01 insulator label. As electric utilities, including transmission and distribution companies, modernize power grids, many are discovering the advantages of outfitting insulators and other equipment with RFID tags and labels for future maintenance and inventory tracking purposes. Management, deployment, and replacement of insulators using RFID brings accuracy and efficiency to the process of power delivery.
It is an exciting time. You have just received a new RFID handheld computer (aka RFID reader) and RFID tags to perform your asset tracking tasks and can hardly wait to start playing with them. Maybe you are in a business space with office and IT equipment scattered among cubicles. Or, perhaps you are managing a tool crib or equipment storage facility. Either way, this endeavor you are about to undertake warrants careful consideration and experimentation. Some advice from ASAP Systems, experts in providing asset tracking systems, can help guide you from the get-go. So before you dive into the project head first, here are a few tips to help you utilize your RFID scanner to the best of its capabilities.
1. Proper RFID Scanner and Tag Positioning
In order to get the ultimate read-range when scanning a RFID tag with a RFID handheld computer, make sure the scanner is held at the same level or height as the tag and at a direct-facing angle. Attempting to “shoot” the scanner from odd angles, as well as below or above the tag, will greatly reduce the distance from which you can scan. The steeper the read angle, the worse the read range will be.
To compete effectively in today’s business environment, you need to be more responsive, more nimble and more efficient. To protect ever-thinner profit margins, you need more data, more accurate intelligence and more streamlined processes in less time using less money. Your supply chain is more global and complex, so you need more real-time, error-free inventory and tracking processes to maintain accountability and productivity.
Enterprises from retail to healthcare/pharmaceuticals are turning to automated RFID systems to gather the business-critical asset and tracking data they need to improve processes, productivity, and profitability. As the need grows for faster, more reliable data collection in hectic business environments, so does the demand for higher performance RFID hardware. Motorola is meeting that demand with a new standard in business-class RFID performance – the Motorola FX7500 Fixed RFID Reader.
Hospital administrators are finding that inexpensive and unobtrusive radio frequency identification tags are saving thousands of dollars while increasing quality of care and patient satisfaction.
At the brand-new, 58-bed Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance in Fort Worth, everything that moves is being tagged, including high-value assets, wristbands on patients and the badges of all staff members.
Over the last year, RFID has saved the Texas Health Alliance $65,000 per month just in rental fees, said Kathi Cox, a project coordinator at the hospital’s parent company Texas Health Resources.
In today’s fast paced retail environment, to remain competitive and profitable it is important that retailers and brand owners have a high level of real time visibility of inventory throughout the supply chain and including the retail shelf itself. Accurately tracking products from the manufacturer and through the DC’s in combination with a good alignment with backroom replenishment processes are critical in addressing and improving operational concerns such as inventory related costs associated with cycle stock and safety stock levels.
To be successful in managing inbound and outbound operations as well as in stock and out of stock inventory, retailers must have a way to streamline their processes that will enable them to improve operations and efficiencies on all levels with the end result of increased sales and revenue. Major retailers are looking at multiple areas in their supply chain and at store levels that the integration of RFID into these operations could provide opportunities to make significant gains in speed and accuracy as well as multi-channel inventory management.
It has been over 40 years since the first RFID device was patented. In its early stages, it was seen as unreliable and far too expensive to adopt over barcode technology. However, more recently companies are starting to adopt RFID technology due to its improvements in readability and cost effectiveness. With these enhancements, companies are seeing the benefits of RFID over barcodes. For example, organizations conducting inventory counts or accounting for high value assets using barcode technology must scan each barcode individually, which requires a considerable amount of time and resources. Whereas RFID readers allow for mass data capture. Additionally, RFID provides real-time, accurate data, which offers tremendous advantages in several industries.
One facet of RFID that has helped simplify the technology and lower the costs is RFID printing. Instead of investing in more costly RFID tags that are typically overkill, companies have found that RFID labels (“Smart Labels”), which are adhesive labels embedded with RFID inlays, are suitable for their requirements. Thus, organizations have the freedom to print their own RFID labels by investing in a RFID printer and RFID label software, both of which have the ability to print barcodes too.