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January 24, 2007

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Part 2

Advantages of RFID over barcodes

The area of RFID application in commercial space overlaps with that of barcode hence the comparison between the two. The following are some advantages of RFID over barcode:

  • RFID does not require line-of-sight to read and write the tag data.
  • RF signals are capable of traveling through a wide array of non-metallic materials.
  • Can simultaneously capture data from many tags within range of the antenna.
  • RFID tags can be encased in hardened plastic coatings making them extremely durable and able to be tracked through harsh production processes.
  • RFID tags are able to support read/write operations, enabling real-time information updates as a tagged item moves through the supply chain.
  • While a barcode once printed cannot be re-used, the writable RFID tags can be re-used with new data.

Business Benefits of RFID

  • Business benefits of RFID solutions across supply chain include:
  • Optimal inventory and avoidance of over/under stocks
  • Phenomenal savings on labor costs
  • Real-time visibility and enhanced responsiveness
  • Reduces receiving and delivery cycles
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction
  • Reduction in theft and counterfeit

In addition, RFID tags hold much more data than barcode labels. The tag can be programmed to hold information such as an item’s serial number, colour, size, manufacture date and current price, as well as a list of all distribution points the item touched before arriving at a store.

Although retail giants like Wal-Mart, Metro, Tesco and CPG majors like Unilever, P&G and Gillette are in the news and currently drive the mass implementation in concentrating on the supply chain, RFID has been successfully implemented in a variety of other areas like automotive manufacturing, pharmaceutical, livestock, government and military operations.

The Author Ishaq Quadri is the Delivery head at Binary Spectrum.

 

Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) : Part1

Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID)

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is an automatic identification technology used to capture details of products as it is done using barcodes although there are a multitude of advantages in RFID than barcode reading. Technically speaking, using RFID technology, digital data is captured from RFID tags by a reader using radio waves. In simple terms, RFID is similar to bar code technology but uses radio waves to capture data from tags, rather than optically scanning the bar codes on a label.

RFID has been in the headlines due to the directives of major retailers like Walmart, Metro, Tesco, and US Department of Defense asking their major suppliers to attach RFID tags to products before shipping. RFID tag is a small electronic device that stores and transmits information when asked for. It basically comprises of a microchip (that stores the unique ID number that identifies an individual product) and tag antenna (that enables the microchip to transmit ID information to a reader).

A related initiative to RFID is the Electronic Product Code (EPC) which is a unique identifier of products globally. An EPC is a unique number that corresponds with an individual product unit (or container of products) and stored in RFID tag attached to each product. Unlike the current barcode, EPC identifies a product at an item level. EPCGlobal is the body entrusted with the standardization and adoption of EPCs globally.

The emergence of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) has important implications for businesses, consumers, as well as policymakers. Companies are turning to RFID to track products, manage warehouse inventory and to stock retail shelves. Consumers are using RFID tags when they travel on highways, purchase gas and groceries, and protect their pets. RFID also has significant potential as a public safety and anti-counterfeiting tool. As the cost of RFID chips declines, new applications of this exciting technology would emerge.

 

The Author Ishaq Quadri is the Delivery head at Binary Spectrum.

August 02, 2006

RFID Application Areas - Proof of Delivery Application

Challenge

Avoidance or reduction of invoice deductions and in-time resolution of claim disputes through timely availability of accurate details regarding delivery of products at warehouse or retailer.

Solution Approach
  • Attach RFID tags to products at a palette, case or item level at manufacturer’s place and prepare the advance shipment notice (ASN) based on the products being shipped and not based on the pick list.
  • At Retailer’s backstore/ warehouse receiving, read the RFID tags attached to products
  • Based on the RFID tag reads prepare an electronic proof of delivery (POD) note and send it instantly to the supplier or transporter.
  • Verify if there are deviations between ASN and POD and resolve the causes before invoice is prepared
Benefits
  • Manufacturers and suppliers save immensely due to reduction in invoice deductions by more timely and accurate information, even in cases of dispute.

  • Resolution of claims becomes easier as difference between a ASN and POD may point to handling inefficiencies or shrinkages in transit.
  • An accurate ASN and POD leads to smooth receiving, payment and inventory management at retailer’s end
  • The possibility of invoice and PO matching will be high leading to improved labor productivities at both supplier and retailer end.

 

 

 

July 07, 2006

Enhance operational efficiencies through RFID

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) has been dubbed as a revolutionary technology which will transform the way supply chains operate in all the industry segments worldwide, by using intelligent electronic tags instead of bar codes attached to products.

For those who are new to this technology, RFID is an automatic identification and data capture technology wherein an electronic device called as ‘Reader’ uses radio waves to capture digital data from a miniature electronic circuit with data storage capability called as ‘RFID tag’ or smart label.

An RFID tag stores data like product or person id etc. RFID technology has been in use for years now in some business areas like security, automotive and paint manufacturing, military operations, crowd control in games and books in libraries. Read More               

-Ishaq

May 05, 2006

Minimize Shopping Cart Abandonment

Industry research shows up to 75% of shoppers abandon their online shopping carts before completing the checkout process. I'm not sure how comfortable I am with that statistic, but shopping cart abandonment is a significant problem. Numerous factors influence this rate, but I'll address those that move the lever in the right direction.

  1. How many steps are in your checkout process?
  2. Include a progress indicator on each checkout page.
  3. Provide a link back to the product
  4. Add pictures inside the basket.
  5. Provide shipping costs early in the process.
  6. Show stock availability on the product page
  7. Make it obvious what to click next
  8. Make editing the shopping cart easy
  9. Make it your fault if any
  10. Show them you're a real entity

April 26, 2006

Common Mistakes of Shopping Cart Design

  1. Requiring users to click a "BUY" button to add an item to the shopping cart instead of an "Add to Cart" button.
  2. Giving little to no visual feedback that an item has been added to the cart
  3. Forcing the user to view the Shopping Cart every time an item is placed in the cart
  4. Asking the user to buy other related items before adding an item to the cart
  5. Requiring a user to REGISTER before adding an item to the cart
  6. Requiring a user to change the quantity to zero to remove an item from the cart
  7. Requiring written instructions to update the items in the cart
  8. Requiring a user to scroll to find an Update cart button
  9. Requiring a user to enter shipping, billing, and all personal information before knowing the final costs including shipping and tax
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