Logistics is a dynamic process. People, stock, equipment, and data are constantly on the move. RFID and RTLS provide the ability to see what is happening at any point in time, at any link in the supply chain. RFID and RTLS are key to achieving supply chain visibility, enabling informed decision-making and supply chain execution.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID): Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a technology for the automatic identification of all types of objects through radio communication.
RFID allows data transfer between a small transponder attached to an object (an RFID label or RFID tag) and a stationary RFID reader. If the RFID label or tag is moved within range of the reader, an electromagnetic field activates the RFID label or tag, which transmits the relevant data according to its coding. Advanced RFID tags can also detect and report events, such as motion or temperature changes, extending their functionality beyond that of AutoID only.
RFID solutions: Dematic have developed numerous RFID applications for companies across a wide range of industries including the mail order, food and beverage, chemical, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and automotive industries, among others.
Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS): Wi-Fi-enabled RFID is revolutionising RTLS by offering a standards-based technology. A Wi-Fi-based solution can track any type of asset or people, without the need for an expensive and difficult-to-install proprietary network. RTLS solutions use existing wireless infrastructure, without any additional hardware.
Unified Asset Visibility (UAV) software: One of the hurdles to achieving supply chain visibility has been that there is no single ‘right’ technology for visibility – most businesses have complex needs that require a combination of visibility methods for multiple uses. For example, Wi-Fi RFID is suitable for asset tracking across large enterprise facilities, while Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) provides high accuracy in small areas, and passive RFID provides AutoID of high-volume items. Then, there are technologies such as GPS and GPRS that also have a role to play in enabling supply chain visibility.
UAV software consolidates data relating to the location, condition and status of mobile assets from multiple data sources into valuable business data, delivering sophisticated mapping, alerting and reporting functions, and displaying it all on a standard web browser.
Following are the benefits of RFID and Real Time Locating Systems:
- No direct line of sight required
- Dirt and dust resistant
- Simultaneous reading of many objects
- Storage of additional data possible
- In-process modification of data
- Transparency across the supply chain
- Higher level of automation