Complete guide on RFID and its applications in supply chain management and logistic

Technology is heading at a huge pace. The advent of technology and its best applications has eliminated all the frictions that existed in our lives and has given seamless opportunities in accomplishing our daily tasks. As time goes by, more studies are carried out and numerous technologies are getting introduced. The ultimate purpose of these technologies is to deliver the best lifestyle to living beings and it is one hundred percent successful in doing so. The best application of technology is transforming industries across various verticals and is bringing out the best in it.

Logistics and supply chain management is one such industry that has a lot of hassles involved in its internal frameworks. Right from documentation to least route optimization and inventory management, the processes involved in the industry demand huge manual effort for the easy flow. The best adaption of technology in the Logistics and supply chain management industry has streamlined the entire operations. It has resulted in complete disruption and has ignited the spark for a revolution.

Of all the technological adoption logistics and supply chain management industry has ever had, RFID Technology is the most prominent and successful one. RFID technology or Radio Frequency identification technology has got a large number of use cases in the industry. Not only in the logistics and supply chain management industry RFID tags have got authority, but they also it has a clear track record of onboarding success in other industries as well. In this article, we are limited to the application of RFID technology in the logistics industry and how it is taking it to the next level. Also, we will discuss in detail about RFID, its classification, working and use cases in the logistics industry. So let us get started.

All about Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID)

Radio Frequency Identification technology also known as RFID is a widely applied technology these days regardless of industries. The real-life use cases and applications of RFID Technology are numerous. The disruptive factor it holds and the revolution it has ignited made RFID one of the most popular technology these days. Even though many scientists have contributed potential resources to the development of RFID, the first patent for developing a solution by using RFID technology goes to Mr. Charles Walton. He was born in 1921 in New York. He have been awarded more than ten patents alone in RFID technology. His contribution has led the way for more innovations and findings in the domain.

What is RFID

We have seen that the abbreviation of RFID is Radio Frequency Identification. RFID is an assembly of several devices and equipment. It consists of an RFID tag or transponder, RFID antenna, RFID Reader or Interrogator, and a computer device. All these devices perform to its fullest to deliver impeccable RFID services. Now let us discuss in detail the role played by these devices in deploying a successful RFID landscape.

· RFID Tag

RFID tag or transponder is a combination of chips having various information stored in it. Usually the chips will be in the format of barcodes. It act as a tracker which helps to identify a particular object, product or thing. The RFID tag can be integrated to anything. It can be a ball pen, a cool drink at the hypermarket, or even your vehicles. Recently the RFID tags are not only used for tracking products, but also for analyzing and tracking the movements of living beings such as animals and birds. Mainly there are three types of RFID Tags classified based on the mode of their power consumption. They are

· Active Tag

Active tag have their own power supply for igniting the tag and transmitting the feedback signal. They do not rely upon the signal transmitted by the RFID Antenna.

· Passive tag

Passive tags are that kind of RFID tags that do not have their own power supply either for igniting the chip or for transmitting the feedback signal. They need to have the Ultra-high frequency radio wave to ignite the chip and to send the transmission signals. RFID tags are widely used these days as they are cheaper compared to active tags and semi-passive tags. Also, their mode of operation is also quite simple as they do not require any external power source. Moreover, the less size of passive tags makes its usage more convenient.

· Semi Passive tag

A semi-passive tag is a combination of both Active tags and passive tags. They have their own power supply for receiving the radio waves from the RFID antenna but don’t have a power supply for signal transmission. In that case they make use of the waves coming from the antenna.

There are different components available inside a RFID tag. Let us see what are they.

Ø Transponder

The role of a transponder in the RFID tag is to receive the radio waves that are transmitted by the antenna.

Ø Rectifier

In the case of a passive reader, it doesn’t have an external power supply. So a rectifier is provided in the system to store the power into a capacitor.

Ø Controller

The power from the rectifier helps the controller to handle the radio waves received by the tag in a controlled manner.

Ø Memory

All the details about a particular object will be stored in the memory unit.

· RFID Antenna

RFID Antenna plays a major role in the completion of an RFID setup. RFID Antennas produce Ultra-high Frequency Radio Waves. The principle behind its working is known to be Backscatter coupling.

· RFID Reader/ Interrogator

The RFID reader is a special set up that receives and interprets the data received from the RFID antenna. It is this RFID reader that figures out the in and out details of the products listed in the RFID chip. RFID reader allows the users to track multiple products simultaneously. RFID reader comes in different types and sizes based on its usage. It is broadly classified into three

Ø Fixed reader

As the name itself says, fixed readers are immobile and will be attached to a fixed body. It can be in the entrance and exit of shops, shopping malls, airports, toll gates, and places like that. It usually comes in large size, as its area of focus is much big.

Ø Handheld Reader

Handheld readers will be small and can be handled easily. One can usually find hand-held readers at the billing counter of shops, movie theatres, and much more.

Ø Mobile Reader

The mobile reader is free from all attachment and works wirelessly. It is easy to handle and is portable.

There are three main components inside an RFID reader. Let us see what they are in detail.

Ø Receiver

The purpose of the receiver inside the RFID reader is to receive the transmission signals from the RFID tag.

Ø Microcontroller

After the signal is received by the receiver, it is then transferred to the microcontroller, where the signal gets processed.

Ø Signal generator

It is this signal generator that generates signals that are bees transmitted to the RFID tag with the help of the Antenna.

· Connected Computer

There is a computer connected to the RFID reader that interprets the data on the RFID chip. With the help of the computer-integrated to the system, this data will be displayed in such a way that it is readily available for humans to analyze.

How does the RFID works?

We have seen the major parts involved in an RFID network. Now let us see how they are interconnected. The RFID antenna constantly transmits ultra-high-frequency radio waves and creates an electromagnetic field. There come RFID tags with each product that have the in and out details of the products such as model number, price, manufacturing date, and much more. If suddenly, a product or an object with RFID tag integrated to it is introduced into this electromagnetic field, the radio waves ignite the chips installed within the tag and it also starts to generate feedback signals. These waves are then directly transferred to the RFID reader or interrogator. With the help of this interrogator, the waves are decoded and the complete details stored in the tag are figured out. This decoded set of data is then transferred to a computer where it is been displayed in a format that humans can analyze and interpret the data. This is the working of a basic RFID system. The working will differ or change completely based on the situations and requirements.

Types of RFID signals

Based on the bandwidth of the signals generated, the RFID signals are classified into three. They are

Ø Low-frequency signals

Ø High-frequency signals

Ø Ultra high-frequency signals

Based on the frequency of the signals, the distance it travels also varies. Low-frequency signals travel less that high-frequency signals that don’t have the capacity to travel like ultra-high frequency signals. Different signals are used based on the circumstances and scenarios.

RFID in logistics and supply chain management industry

The advent of RFID Technology in the logistics and supply chain management industry has taken its operations and efficiency to the next level. One can clearly see the revolution RFID as brought in to the domain when he compares its operations before and after RFID been introduced. It has increased operational efficiency and has breakdown tedious tasks into tasks that can be accomplished in less time.

Advantages of having RFID integration in Logistics and supply chain management

Now let us see the advantages of applying RFID in the supply chain management industry.

Ø Digital database for products

Ø Product identification based on barcodes

Ø Streamlined operations

Ø Enhanced organizational efficiency

Ø Boosts productivity and efficiency

Ø Unified tracking system

Ø Real-time product updates

Ø Boost productivity of employees

Ø Proper inventory management

Ø Zero prone to errors

Ø Fast movements of goods

Ø Reduces manpower

Ø End-to-end domain automation

Ø Crosschecking products without physical crosschecking

Ø Enhanced assembly line operations

Ø Asset management and tracking, etc.

Applications of RFID in Logistics and supply chain management

Radio Frequency Identification technology has got numerous applications in the logistics and supply chain management industry. Let us see what the applications are:

· RFID for data handling

Conventional ways of running a logistics and supply chain management business have a lot of documentation processes involved in it. This was changed completely right after the advent of RFID technology. Now all the documentation processes are handled digitally where the conventional ways got backlashed seamlessly.

· Real-time gate tags

Real-time gate tag, a real-world application allows identifying the products available in a lot at the time it enters the warehouse. The RFID sensors made available at the gates are responsible for it. This reduces manpower and boosts accuracy.

· Smart Shelves

The best application of RFID technology has resulted in the introduction of smart shelves, which is a boon to the industry. With smart shelves, logistics, and supply chain management companies are able to stay on top of their shelf optimization activities such as shelf rack tracking, automated shelves, misplaced item alert, etc.

· Wireless Readers

Wireless card readers add more transparency in the industry as it helps the fast movement of objects thereby enhances the mobility features. As it is portable wireless devices, it offers seamless ways of usability.

· Automated Invoice Generation

Nowadays, logistics and supply chain management industries are making use of RFID Technology for generating automated invoices based on the purchases. This paved the way to enhance the processing speed as a whole and skyrocket organizational efficiency and productivity. It is also used to upload various other digital documents like purchase order, quotation, and all too the central database, thereby reducing human interference.

· Used to identify supply chain status

With the help of RFID, business owners can now have their hands on top of the entire status of the product in the line. The product id is put under observation with the help of a computer and they will be given the complete details of its shipment.

· Warehouse management

RFID offers a multitude of opportunities for business owners to manage the warehouse in a hassle-free manner. With it, the business owners can have the complete details of the products entering and leaving the warehouse, its details, products that are about to expire, and much more. e

DxMinds Innovation Labs- the best RFID Technology development company

DxMinds Innovation Labs ace the mastery over developing innovative and custom made RFID solutions for logistics and supply chain management industry. The high degree of proficiency and in-depth expertise over various RFID use cases and applications has made DxMinds Innovation Labs, one of the fastest-growing RFID technology development companies in India, USA, UAE, Australia, etc. The RFID Solutions DxMinds build for your logistics and supply chain management business is capable of taking your business to new horizons where technology plays a key role in determining your success and business automation. For more details on the RFID solutions for logistics and supply chain management developed by DxMinds, drop a mail to info@dxminds.com

FAQ

Suggest me the best RFID solution development company?

DxMinds is the leading RFID solution developers. You can hire them.

What are the applications of RFID in logistics and supply chain management?

There are many applications such as industrial automation, smart shelves, asset management, warehouse management and much more

What is the future of RFID in supply chain management?

The future of supply chain management starts with the best application of RFID. Active studies are going on to explore the unexplored opportunities.

What is RFID?

RFID is the abbreviation of Radio Frequency identification that uses radio waves for tracking and analyzing objects, products, and animals.



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