Before the advent of the industrial evolution, trading and shop keeping meant maintaining inventory registers, counting the units sold at the day’s end and forecasting future needs. These calculations were likely to be based on experience and intuition which could lead to erroneous results.
Later, the growing challenges of efficiency, mass production and customer satisfactions did not leave any room for inaccurate and intuitive predictions. In the early 1930’s, a team at Harvard University designed the first modern check-out system. It used punch cards that corresponded with catalog items. A customer could select punch cards containing product information and bring it to the check-out counter. The computer would read the card, pass the information to the store room from where it would be brought to the waiting customer. This system proved expensive and merchants started looking for affordable solutions to manage their inventory.
With the development of inexpensive laser technology in 1960s, the concept of Universal Product Code (UPC) or bar code along with handy readers/scanners came into being. As it was relatively cheaper, this technology got widely accepted throughout the globe.
The new millennium brought a technology outburst to an extent that it changed the entire culture. The innovations of touchpads and tablets even changed the linguistic idioms. Life changed from a click of button to a tap of the finger. The Aladdin genie which was earlier an imagination came in the form of technology fulfilling wishes from booking a vacation to paying utility bills with just a tap. In this bullet ride, what was thought to be the efficiency in the former era, became delays of the present. The bar code technology could not keep pace with this acceleration. As this technology needed line of sight and each and every item had to be scanned individually, these delays could no more be afforded.
This paved way for RFID technology which is the current and the latest trend in inventory management. Using RFID technology for data collection and some appropriate inventory algorithms for replenishment decisions, many warehousing processes can be automated such as, receiving, picking, and ordering. Various enterprise applications, for example ERP packages, can be configured and linked to RFID technology for direct and on-line collection of data. It could be possible to combine RFID and Bar coding technology for tracking of items to take competitive advantages of both the technologies.
- Inventory monitoring and asset visibility.
- Monitor demand trends or build a probable pattern of demand using POS data.
- Reduced bull whip effect
- Lead time reduction
- Reduced inventory shrinkage
- Perishable inventory control
Some of the market leaders those who have already implemented RFID technology are; in retail sector, DHL, McDonald’s, Texas Instruments, Tesco; in automotive sector BMW, DaimlerChrysler AG, Goodyear; in manufacturing industry Boeing, Hyundai, Toyota; in airline industry McCarran International Airport, US, Virgin Atlantic Airways.
We, at Way Point Systems, provide Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) based inventory and asset management solutions in the Middle East. Are you planning to make a move to RFID based business solutions but have some doubts? Talk to us – share with us your thoughts and plans as we’re here to hear you out!