RFID-the story so far

Supply chain professionals can relate easily to the much talked about benefits that RFID can provide to the logistics industry. In reality it is an enabling technology that will provide many benefits to many groups.

Trials are proving that the technology is becoming robust and more reliable and will be able to drive future automation.

RFID is the fastest-growing technology in logistics and the industry provides a practical application for RFID. Retailers are embarking on more and more RFID trials but are unsure about how to relate these to improved business performance and get commitment to make RFID trials a reality. One of these commitments is the financial commitment for the equipmenttags, readers and integration software.

This is where supply chain professionals add-value to retail customers by defining and scoping RFID projects and sourcing the most cost-effective and robust technology.

Business users only need a basic awareness of RFID, supply chain companies can implement and manage projects and provide integration between suppliers, retailers and logistics service providers. They will also provide justification of how it will help performance in the retail sector.

For the supply chain, the benefits of RFID are now becoming clear. Vehicles, and transit media (such as i.e. pallets), cartons, or even individual products are can be tracked via tags which relay information to RFID readers. The tags, or data carriers, contain a unique number which holds specific information about the products objects being tracked, and sends this to the RFID antennae or readers via radio signals. The tag information can be determined by the retailerdepending on exactly what information they want to know about the object individual product. Alternatively, supply chain professionals are expert in helping retailers to identify exactly what they should look to achieve from RFID trials and what suits the business.

By tracking vehicles, supply chain companies have complete visibility of goods from relevant points in the process, for example from the supplier to the distribution centre to the store. Logistics companies will be able to tell their customers exactly where goods are in the supply chain. This technology eliminates discrepancies of stock delivery along the entire process. In many several cases, it has been shown to significantly reduce inventory.

Smart retailing and customer service via RFID
There will be a move towards tracking individual items and garments.   As RFID becomes a standard business activity, the technology will become cheaper which will lead to an increase in item-level tagging. That is, individual garments will be tagged. This is where retailers, particularly of high-value goods, will see a major return on investment on RFID implementations trials.

Via RFID initiatives, managers will be able to monitor and review store performance and tackle problem areas. Individual RFID tags will update stock and inventory systems in real-time.

Committing to RFID
The key is to work with supply chain experts who can recommend a strategy to present the benefits you need to get corporate buy-in. In fact, this is the key to all technology-related projectspresent the business case before the bites and bytes.

Do you need to track a small geography? Do you want to tag all goods or just high-value goods? These will have a bearing on costs as it is more expensive to track wider geographies and to opt for individual tagging.

Take a holistic look at the benefits you will gain from RFID projects. There are many options that will help you match what you need to track and what you are prepared to outlay. Whatever you choose, there are sure to be benefits delivered via RFID.

Exel is the global leader in supply chain management, providing customer-focused solutions to a wide range of manufacturing, retail and consumer industries. Exels comprehensive range of innovative logistics solutions encompasses the entire supply chain from design and consulting through freight forwarding, warehousing and distribution services to integrated information management and e-commerce support.

Exel, a UK listed, FTSE 100 company, with turnover of 6.7 billion (US$10.9 billion/ 9.7 billion), employs over 109,000 people in 2050 locations in more than 120 countries worldwide.  Exels customers include over 70 per cent of the worlds largest, quoted non-financial companies.

Solutions offered
Exels solution sets include:
 International supply chain management
 Inbound to manufacturing
 Lead Logistics Provide (LLP)
 Service logistics.

Our services include:
 Contract logistics services. Demonstrating our ground-based expertise, which is geared towards the provision of contract driven operations encompassing the design, implementation and delivery of both dedicated and multi-user facilities and distribution.
 Freight management services. Exel is one of the world's leading providers of comprehensive forwarding services offering customers extensive global coverage, multi-modal capabilities and a range of time-definite and flexible services tailored to meet their individual needs.
 Consultancy services. Our consultancy and solutions design teams offer a wide portfolio of expertise and services ranging from logistics network strategy, transport design, warehouse design, inventory modelling and simulation through to operational improvement and inventory excellence.
 Information services. Using our IT products and services we provide a range of information management services not necessarily linked to Exel acting as the physical provider of logistics services. These include information management, order management, document management, and systems integration services.
 Specialist services. We have a range of specialist services that meet very specific needs in the supply chain including international mailing, time critical services, service centres and fleet maintenance, property and real estate and waste management.

Industrial markets served
These include retail, consumer, automotive, healthcare, chemical, industrial amongst others.

Countries served

EXEL Europe, Middle East and Africa Brochure


In todays business environment, companies have recognised that it is vital to focus keenly on core competencies and outsource areas of business such as the supply chain. For companies that no longer see the need to develop in-house, complex implementation processes to manage their supply chain requirements, specialist companies such as Exel can provide a solution that can be more cost effective and reduce risk.


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