By Diana Hage and Josh Konowe
We all know that seeing where friends, family or business contacts are located in real-time is incredibly valuable. In a lot of obvious ways, being able to track other’s movements is very helpful – it saves us time on coordinating schedules, reassures us that friends and colleagues have reached their destinations safely, and saves a lot of time we can spend doing other more valuable things.
As we move between our homes and businesses, we traverse across cell tower or satellite coverage zones. Like scanned RFID-tagged items, we are constantly being plotted on a map. In reality, several maps – Google’s, Apple’s, the handset manufacturers, the cell phone carriers, and the government to some extent. We, in essence, have “IOT-ed” ourselves while in transit; just like products moving through a supply chain as we travel from one place to the next. Location-based data provides information that is useful for planning, construction and retail sales, as well as state funding allocations; and we feed useful insights even when we do nothing at all. In a COVID-19 world, tracking ourselves, where we have been, and who we may have been in contact with adds a layer of insight and security that is becoming increasingly valuable in a global pandemic.
In the supply chain world, this tracking, scanning, tagging and locating of items has only really begun to drive and unlock value in similar ways. As we enter and plan for the post COVID-19 business environment; it has become clear that having more information about how anything was handled is absolutely paramount from a health perspective, drives value, and helps provide comfort for the ever-growing list of safety concerns.
If scanning items more frequently, in more places, in an automated fashion allows us to isolate what happened, who had access, and in an emergency, avert a problem a lot faster, why wouldn’t we? Scanning also provides ancillary information about the items in question. Where did those items originate? What is their pedigree or history? Have they been exposed to huge variations in temperature which might change their efficacy or have they simply been sitting in one location for an extended period of time? Has the item been touched by an employee and if so, how many times, where, and who was it? All of these questions can be answered by simply scanning more frequently. This can be done in automated ways to keep humans from possibly contaminating points along a supply chain. Averting a catastrophic moment at the warehouse could save countless others both in and around the supply chain from receiving contaminated items, while providing the entire chain of custody for any part, package, box or item.
Scanning with RFID has unlocked huge game-changing shifts in the electronics, aviation and energy sectors. In the new COVID-19 world, we anticipate scanning to accelerate as we reshape supply chains to operate safely in this new landscape. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us help you automate part or all of your supply chain for this new reality.