Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology is not a new technology and has been in use since quite some time in military, airlines, library, security, healthcare and other areas. Nowadays, the biggest use of RFID technology is seen in supply chain management. RFID is being used to manage products through production, distribution and retail. One of the important component of the supply chain management is returnable transportable items (RTIs). Manufacturers, food processors, distributors and retailers are all discovering the value of RTIs with RFID. These RTIs are nothing but reusable totes, pallets, trays, bins, cages, cartons, or containers which make it possible to move goods efficiently, sustainably and at low costs. They eliminate the waste that one-time cartons create and thus give a higher return on investment (ROI). Although the initial cost of investing in RFID-based RTIs may seem heavier, over a long period of time reusable containers yield lower operating costs because you don’t need to repurchase them every time you need them – they can be used and reused several times.
RTIs Improve the Supply ChainThe increase in stringent traceability guidelines worldwide has pushed companies to improve their tracking methods. Companies are not only required to provide a complete audit of product and ingredients movement in the supply chain but are also compelled to track equipment flows associated with product shipment. RTIs with RFID can help a company improve its supply chain operations in such circumstances. Companies can track their mobile assets from beginning to end, i.e. right from packing and handling to their transport to and fro.
RTIs to Track Work-in-Process (WIP)The RTI systems are also being used to track partial finished goods as part of a WIP. The goods are kept in temporary storage within a manufacturing facility before being shipped to their destination. The containers carrying goods become RTIs when they get transported out of the facility and can be monitored and traced using the RFID tags.
RTIs Improve SustainabilityThe use of reusable plastic crates or metal kegs for transporting goods helps in reducing waste. Such environmental friendly practices are important for companies to fulfil their corporate social responsibilities. These green practices can also help organizations to eliminate loss and lower their cost of ownership.
RTIs Reduce Counterfeiting/Losses Due to TheftA counterfeited container will not have RFID tag attached to it. So, it can easily be spotted as the rest of the RTIs will be equipped with RFID tags. Furthermore, RFID tagged RTIs even if stolen can easily be traced and tracked.
Some Benefits of RTI with RFID
- Reduction of packaging
- Reduction of manual handling scanning
- Reduction of material stocks
- Less human intervention
- Improved accountability and visibility
- Improved customer service