Proprietary RFID-based solutions have been used for a decade in the manufacturing space. One of the established uses is in the automobile manufacturing process. Automobile companies attach read/write RFID tags to the car chassis. The RFID tags provide direction to and record the completion of each assembly process.
Other manufacturers are working hard to exploit the potential of RFID in their operations. Example benefits that manufacturers have identified include:
- Fast assembly
- Identify and eliminate counterfeit parts
- Improved accurate/reactive production planning
- Reduced stock/work in process (WIP), increase make-to-order
- Reduced efforts on stock counts
- Reduced product recall costs
- Correct parts identification, reduced maintenance
- Accurate and real-time inventory
- Accurate packing list and invoice information
- Cheaper disposal
- Tighter linkage to distributors
Linking the manufacturing floor to the retail floor: real-time inventory
Several manufacturers today are experimenting with RFID-based tagging of higher-value merchandise. Examples include consumer electronics and pharmaceuticals. The concept is to audit the RFID tagged inventory on the retail floor and use that information to drive manufacturing and shipping of completed product.
In summary, RFID systems give the producers total visibility into the movement throughout the supply chain. Relationships with retailers provide powerful incentives for offsetting some of the costs, with the agreement to share information with these valued trading partners.