RFID: The Key To Efficient Warehouse Operations

Warehouses serve as the backbone of any supply chain, so it comes as no surprise that maximising inventory accuracy and ensuring seamless shipping operations are vital to meeting customer demands – all whilst minimising costs.

The traditional process of managing thousands of products with manual processes can be a hard task, often plagued by human error and consuming significant time and resources.

RFID technology is increasingly becoming the go-to solution for creating slicker warehouse operations, enabling warehouse managers to keep up with modern demands, boost productivity, and reduce costs.  In testing, Zebra report 99.5% or better accuracy among its customer deployments.

This blog covers the potential in RFID, its benefits and how it empowers peak efficiency in the warehouse.



What is RFID Technology?

RFID is a wireless technology that uses radio waves to identify and track objects, goods, and people. This technology has gained immense popularity in the last few years and has found numerous applications in the logistics industry, particularly in warehousing.

RFID tags are small electronic devices that can be attached to products, cases, or pallets. These tags contain a unique identification number, which can be read as they pass through an integrated portal or by using a handheld RFID reader such as the RFD90 Ultra-Rugged UHF RFID Sled. The reader sends radio waves to the tag, which then responds with its unique identification number.

The RFID technology itself can be broken down into three parts: the tag, the reader, and the middleware. The tag is attached to the object being tracked, the reader reads the tag, and the middleware is the software that processes the data collected by the reader.

Unlike traditional barcodes, RFID technology can read multiple tags at once, without requiring a direct line of sight. This makes it much faster and more efficient than barcode scanning. RFID tags can also store much more data than barcodes, making it possible to track additional information such as the temperature, location, and the expiration date of the products being tracked.

RFID is an incredibly powerful tool that can be used to drive productivity and efficiency in warehousing operations, allowing companies to make better decisions, reduce costs, and increase profits.

A Closer Look At RFID In The Warehouse

One of the most significant challenges that warehouse managers face is managing the flow of inventory in and out of their facilities. Accurately tracking the movement of goods from the moment that they arrive in the warehouse is critical to maintaining high levels of productivity and customer satisfaction.

RFID in Receiving and Inventory Management

RFID technology is ideal to support receiving and inventory management as it allows for real-time, automated tracking of items as they enter the warehouse. With RFID tags attached to products, warehouse staff can quickly scan and identify incoming items without the need for manual data entry or physical counting. As products are automatically tracked throughout the warehouse, they can easily be located and retrieved, reducing the time and labour required to search for missing items.

When deployed, RFID can greatly improve the accuracy and efficiency of receiving and inventory management processes in the warehouse. Warehouse managers can free up time and resources to focus on other critical areas of their operations, ultimately driving productivity and boosting profits.

RFID in Picking and Order Fulfilment

The traditional picking process can be slow and cumbersome, relying on manual checks and counts which can lead to inefficiencies and potential errors. With RFID, this process becomes much more efficient and accurate.

Items are tagged with unique identifiers, allowing them to be easily tracked and located throughout the warehouse. Warehouse staff can quickly locate and retrieve the correct item from the inventory, ensuring the accuracy of the order picking process.

RFID tags can also be programmed to include information such as the product type, quantity, and location in the warehouse, making it easy for staff to monitor inventory levels and reorder when necessary. This level of detail in inventory management ensures that the warehouse always has enough stock to meet customer demands.

Another advantage of RFID in order fulfilment is the ability to automate parts of the process. RFID tags can be used to trigger automated picking systems such as Fetch Robotics that select the correct items, place them into an order carton, and then deliver them to the appropriate location. This automation saves time and reduces the need for manual labour, making the order fulfilment process much more efficient.

Using RFID technology for order fulfilment can be a real game-changer in busy warehouses. By streamlining the process and increasing accuracy, warehouses have another tool to meet the growing demands of modern commerce while increasing productivity and reducing costs.

RFID in Shipping and Logistics

Once an order is packed and ready for shipping, RFID technology can come into play to ensure the correct shipment is being sent to the right customer. By using fixed RFID readers and antennas such as the FX9600 and SR5502 from Zebra on dock doors, RFID tags on individual boxes or pallets can be automatically read and compared against a shipment record to ensure they are being loaded onto the correct lorry or courier vehicle.

RFID can also be used to monitor the condition of products during shipping, particularly in industries where temperature and humidity control are crucial. By placing temperature sensors equipped with RFID tags inside packages, warehouse managers can track the temperature of their goods during transit, ensuring that they arrive in pristine condition.

The technology can also be used to help retailers and distributors manage last-mile logistics by tracking deliveries in real-time. This way, customers can receive accurate information about the location and delivery time of their shipments.

Implementing RFID technology in shipping and logistics can help warehouse managers streamline the shipping process, enhance the delivery experience for customers, and reduce the risk of errors or lost shipments. By providing accurate and timely data throughout the shipping process, RFID can improve overall supply chain efficiency.

Five Advantages of Implementing RFID in Warehousing

RFID technology in warehousing is becoming essential to compete in the current business landscape. Here’s a recap of the top advantages and benefits of using RFID in your warehouse operations:

1. Improved Accuracy:

One of the most significant advantages of implementing RFID in warehousing is improved accuracy in inventory tracking and order processing. With RFID tags attached to every item, workers can easily scan them without having to manually enter data, leading to fewer errors and better data accuracy.

2. Faster Order Processing:

RFID technology enables faster order processing by reducing the time it takes to locate and pick products in the warehouse. Employees can quickly and accurately locate products without wasting time searching for them manually.

3. Reduced Labour Costs:

By automating warehouse processes using RFID technology, labour costs are reduced significantly. This is because RFID tags can quickly and accurately identify products without requiring manual labour allowing employees to focus on more productive tasks that require human expertise.

4. Improved Productivity:

The use of RFID technology can help increase productivity in the warehouse. Employees can quickly locate and pick products, resulting in faster order processing, which can increase throughput. Additionally, the use of RFID technology can eliminate time wasted on manual inventory counting and reduce errors, allowing for more efficient use of time.

5. Increased Customer Satisfaction:

RFID technology enables businesses to provide accurate and timely delivery of products to customers, which can significantly improve customer satisfaction. With faster order processing and reduced errors, customers are more likely to receive their products on time and without issue, resulting in improved customer loyalty and repeat business.

Take your operations to the next level

If you are interested in exploring how RFID can benefit your warehouse, please don't hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to discuss your specific needs and create a customised solution that is right for you. Speak to our dedicated team of experts to learn more.