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How Barcode and RFID Solutions Can Improve Supply Chain Productivity

Today’s modern supply chain businesses leverage a combination of RFID tags and readers, barcode labels and long-range mobile scanners to increase the speed and ease of data collection to asset tracking.

By combining barcode and RFID data capture methods and relational database software, supply chain businesses can improve the speed and accuracy of their processes, including locating, retrieving, and accounting for anything that moves in or out of the facility.

Supply chain businesses that leverage mobile barcode and RFID solutions are able to increase turnover and optimize inventory, as well as improve the accuracy of their manufacturing, ordering, and/or shipping. When productivity is significantly improved, resources can be reallocated to higher-value activities or more vital areas.

Barcode and RFID solutions can improve productivity through the following business aspects:

1.     Labor hours and costs

What once took employees hours to accomplish can be achieved in minutes with barcode and RFID data collection. Scanning a barcode or RFID tag takes significantly less time than manually entering the information. Also, increased mobility allows them to minimize back-and-forth.

The two technologies allow workers to significantly reduce labor-intensive, manual processes by instantaneously identifying items and automatically storing item information in your central computer system.

Each minute or hour you are able to shave off of each process means more time to accomplish other needs or move onto the next project, increasing productivity and reducing labor costs. Not to mention — any labor related to paperwork can be eliminated completely, as all information can be entered and stored digitally.

2.       Data accuracy and quality control

Using barcode and RFID solutions to automate the data entry process can reduce or even eliminate the errors that inevitably occur when data is entered manually — because even the most skilled typists make an error every 300 keystrokes. Being able to scan barcode labels and read RFID tags using a mobile device instead of manually entering item IDs character-by-character can make a world of difference.

This enables an improvement in data accuracy, which will then trickle down to improve the accuracy of orders and shipments, as well as the quality control process.

3.       Inventory management and asset tracking

It’s extremely difficult and time-consuming to manufacture products or pack shipments in an unorganized facility. You should never have to worry that a necessary tool or machine has gone missing or that materials were distributed incorrectly.

Having a firm grasp on both your inventory and your assets will help you to run your business much more smoothly — and keep your customers happy.

Facilities can use barcode and RFID data to increase inventory visibility or gain stronger insight into the materials that come in and out of the facility. By attaching a RFID tag or barcode label to inventory items, you can trace your assets throughout the supply chain to:

  • reduce shrinkage and loss
  • confirm deliveries
  • combat counterfeiting
  • facilitate recalls.

In addition to data collection for effective inventory management, RFID tags allow manufacturing and distribution companies to manage and track the lifecycle of mobile and fixed assets — tools, equipment, products, pallets, etc. — in real time. Facilities can combine barcode and RFID solutions with relational database software to quickly locate any asset, track its history from acquisition to disposal, and reduce audit time.

The implementation process doesn’t have to be difficult — barcode and RFID solutions can integrate with your existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) or warehouse management system (WMS) systems to enhance their functionality and enable smarter decision-making overall. A barcode and RFID systems integrator can work with you to recommend a mobile barcode or RFID solution that meets the specific needs of your business.

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