“Supply chain disruption” – the aggravating phrase that was birthed during the pandemic is continuing as a thorn in the side of the global economy. Market analysts predict that progression of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and its international ramifications could produce the most dramatic and unstable supply chains since World War II.

During times of crisis, companies must lean on innovation to gain a competitive edge. Future market winners will be the corporations that invest in their supply chain infrastructure. As many industry leaders have already realized, the path forward lies with solutions which leverage IoT, RFID, and AI technologies. The implementation of radio frequency identification and sensor technologies facilitates the streamlining and optimization of operations at a scale that is unmatched and has led some experts to assert that RFID will be as transformative to the supply chain as bar code was to the retail industry. In the broadest sense, the value of IoT and RFID is in its ability to increase visibility and reduce uncertainty in every step of the supply chain process.

The Technology

IoT solutions employ the use of a variety of sensors or RFID tags to generate the most valuable commodity – real-time data on supply chain status and conditions. Data captured by sensors or tags is instantaneously transmitted and analyzed by software such as our Visi-Trac platform, transforming information into insight. With the placement of an RFID tag on a physical asset, the IoT-enabled traceability provides corporations real-time visibility into asset location, status, condition, and availability. From the smallest component to a fully-assembled electronic product or automobile, tags can be placed on any part and tracked through every stage of the supply chain process.

RFID Benefits

The implementation of RFID allows many outdated and tedious processes that have hampered the flow of supply chains to become fully automated. Replacing manual and analog activities in these processes yields a slew of benefits to supply chain management:

  1. Increased visibility to suppliers, enabling rapid adjustment to orders and schedules
  2. Faster shipping and receiving time
  3. Enhanced work-in-progress (WIP) tracking
  4. Greater inventory accuracy
  5. Better ability to obtain needed parts and goods to fulfill customer demand

Rapid Industry Adoption

With an extensive range of applications, IoT solutions are being implemented to optimize operations in nearly every industry. More than 25 billion RFID tags were deployed in 2021, and that number is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. The rapid adoption of RFID across a multitude of industries has prompted GS1 US, a not-for-profit standards organization, to launch a quarterly RFID Discussion Group with its first meeting held on March 24, 2022. GS1 standards are the most widely-used global supply chain standards.

From aerospace and manufacturing to food production and healthcare, various market leaders have leveraged IoT solutions to gain a competitive edge in their respective industries. The versatility of RFID technologies enables highly customizable solutions, tailored to your business’ specific needs. As one example, in the agriculture sector, some produce suppliers are utilizing IoT sensors to monitor the nitrate and moisture levels of their farms to guide fact-based decisions for fertilization and irrigation needs. The ability to track produce and other perishable goods from harvest to shipment allows grocers to promote first-in, first-out (FIFO) methods to ensure high quality and fresh goods.

The RFID industry is forecast to be one of the largest growing sectors in the next decade and recent mandates from retail giants such as Walmart and Nordstrom have served to affirm this prediction. Corporations in the retail industry have utilized IoT solutions to enhance inventory accuracy, reduce in-store theft, decrease order fulfillment times and employ omni-channel retail strategies. The benefits of RFID solutions only scratch the surface of the full capabilities of IoT technology.

Constructing a Smarter Supply Chain

In rapidly evolving markets, supply chains are only as effective as the communication that flows through them. The data and insight provided by IoT solutions creates a level of visibility into the many processes in a supply chain that has never been possible before. For this reason, RFID has been elevated as the solution for many of the global trade issues we currently face. The implementation of IoT allows corporations to optimize their operations while also boosting their bottom line. The utilization of RFID has evolved far beyond inventory management to become a fundamental component of the global trade economy. As the RFID Industry continues to boom and its applications expand, we come nearer to the day when market experts will view supply chains from the lens of pre- and post- IoT implementation.

If you would like to learn more about how RFID Global can provide an innovative, strategic approach for your supply chain needs, please send us a note via the “Contact Us” form or email to info@rfidgs.com.