Managing a warehouse facility has never been easy. But in recent months, labor shortages and the disrupted supply chain have imposed several new obstacles. And concerning these supply chain and labor market issues, most business analysts concede that there is no immediate end in sight.
Because warehouse operations are essential to delivering products into the hands of consumers, corporate leaders are increasingly turning to software for manufacturing companies for inventory control solutions.
While the purpose of a warehouse is easily explained, its optimal function is tremendously more difficult to achieve. You understand the basic concept that your facility receives and stores goods before shipping them through various shipment channels for either manufacturing production or retail distribution. But the seemingly impossible objective is to execute this process with as little disruption as possible and very few errors.
As a warehouse operations manager, you don’t need reminding that maintaining seamless distribution flow is easier said than done. It’s for precisely this reason that most company executives working within the fragile global supply chain are carefully following recent trends in emergent technology such as robots and machine learning.
These new state-of-the-art technological developments rapidly accelerate the time it takes to pick and pack orders. A plethora of emergent automated devices, and the software that controls them, are widely expected to usher in a fresh era of supply chain production strategies. The inventions bring several key inventory control enhancements, namely improvements to accuracy and efficiency, that will undoubtedly revolutionize the logistics warehousing industry forever.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), a wireless technology that uses radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data, represents one among several recent industry developments. While RFID has been around since the mid-1940s, logistics operation managers recently began using the technology for warehousing solutions more than in times past.
Initially used to distinguish between enemy and friendly aircraft in WWII, the first RFID transmitting chip was implanted into license plates in 1977. The industry has since blossomed into a more than 26 billion dollar industry, with a large sector of its business attributable to warehouse distribution and manufacturing.
In the following informative blog article, we explore how RFID technology is currently enhancing warehouse processes at facilities around the globe while considerably reducing the potential for human error.
How does RFID work?
Many logistics operations of all sizes have recently undergone digital transformations to keep their businesses in step with the competition. As this trend continues, warehouses increasingly depend upon RFID tags and readers to store critical data for cataloging and tracking warehouse inventory. RFID allows users to capture product information from a microchip that uniquely identifies warehouse inventory and its current location.
When an RFID tag attaches to an item, a special scanner is deployed that can read stored data revealing inventory status and location within the supply chain. Warehoused items labeled with an RFID tag contain referential data on an internal memory chip. The disposition of the chip is adjustable as it progresses through the supply chain. RFID tags automatically detect the wireless reader from a distance. This unique capability allows inventory to be continuously updated as it enters and departs the warehouse facility. All RFID information directs itself to a central database where a detailed analysis of the stored information occurs.
RFID tags are superior to barcodes
RFID tags are, foremost, preferred over barcodes because the chips are not subject to failed scans or human error. Secondly, unlike barcodes, RFID tags do not require the reader to be in the same line of sight. Not only are resource-intensive manual scanning processes eliminated with RFID, but the inventory is scannable and traceable, even as these materials rest, out of view, beneath other items.
Of course, the primary benefit of tracking unseen goods is the enhanced accuracy RFID brings in the inventory process. Human error largely falls off of inventory scanning procedures. Furthermore, sophisticated inventory management software that works in tandem with RFID technology allows for real-time tracking at production facilities. Warehouse staff can thereby identify the location of a given item, quickly and easily, from the time it arrives at the warehouse to the point it departs from the dock.
RFID is enhances warehousing efficiency by automating and streamlining scanning processes that used to be manual. All materials labeled with an RFID tag transmit wireless data communication to the warehouse software and central database. The RFID-tagged items automatically track and update arrival and departure events, with just about anything in between.
Reduced human error, maximized warehousing efficiency
RFID cuts labor costs considerably. It also improves efficiency while, in many areas, RFID essentially eliminates the potential for human error. Because information transfers remotely and automatically, warehouse items are less prone to fall through the cracks. There are no missed scans attributable to human error or barcode reader malfunctions.
Because the inventory updates on its own in real-time, warehouse employees possess the ability to halt the distribution of a recalled product, for instance, by isolating its exact location in the supply chain. In this case, a manual search for these products is no longer required.
Without RFID, production workers might otherwise potentially miss recalled items in a manual search -if they even know where to begin looking for them. Problems like this may instigate damage to brand reputation after the faulty inventory finds its way to public distribution points.
WiSys for your RFID and automated inventory control solutions
Are you seeking updated inventory control solutions like RFID? Or, are you simply unhappy with the current implementation of SAP Business One or Macola Software? Are you having trouble with shipping speeds attributable to supply chain issues or experiencing problems integrating shipment vendors such as FedEx and UPS?
WiSys helps companies like yours regain control of their warehouses by bringing modern RFID solutions to their distribution and manufacturing facilities. Operating in an increasingly complex global and local regulatory environment poses countless challenges. Don’t let outmoded manualized procedures put your company at risk.
If you are looking for an experienced and reliable partner that can help your warehouse achieve real-time inventory control through an internal RFID tracking and distribution system, contact WiSys today at 770-955-3530.