With 40 per cent of retailers planning to introduce wireless tracking by the end of this year, Zebra Technologies has launched a guide to RFID technology to ensure that the benefits of such deployments are fully realised.
The guide addresses a number of myths around RFID to provide retailers and suppliers with the facts. Armed with these, companies will be in a better position to make informed decisions about investing in the technology.
The guide features a number of facts including: RFID is anticipated to achieve fast adoption rates because it is based on existing bar codes; the key benefits of RFID such as enabling scanning through other materials, delivering real-time reporting and automating inventory management, and explaining the key benefits of the different types of RFID tags such as passive and active.
In conjunction with the guide, Zebra has also compiled a five-point RFID self-assessment checklist to guide RFID investment. If retailers or suppliers answer yes to any of the questions, they should consider using RFID tracking technology.
1. Would your business benefit from better inventory management?
2. Do you need to know more about whats on your shelves or in your warehouse?
3. Do you need greater traceability of your products through the supply chain?
4. Do you have disparate or remote logistics providers who find it difficult to access central databases?
5. Is your organisation part of a bigger supply chain where RFID might become mandatory?
We have reached the point where RFID can no longer be ignored, said Bernard Williams, RFID business development manager at Zebra Technologies. The fact that Wal-Mart has mandated its suppliers to achieve pallet and case-level tagging with class 1 gen 2 at its core by 2006 is a clear indicator that this technology will become an industry standard for retail applications. Using these tags Wal-Mart has already achieved 16% reduction in out of stock product lines due to improved inventory information.
In addition, manufacturers are looking to increase the speed of delivery, reduce shrinkage and meet retailer mandates for RFID. They also want to increase the speed of payments by using EDI and RFID tags to consolidate orders and move goods through the supply chain more quickly, continued Williams.
As competition increases in the logistics sector, with speed of delivery and product traceability high on retailers agendas, it is clear that we are on the brink of widespread adoption. Retailers and manufacturers need to review their RFID strategy now to avoid falling behind competitors.
Williams concluded: However, rather than rushing to deploy RFID technology, retailers should take time to understand its key features to decide whether it meets their needs and can help them achieve the productivity gains and potential competitive advantage it can deliver.