Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology uses electromagnetic fields to activate tracking tags that can collect and store data about the items being tracked. If your dog or cat has an ID chip, it’s an RFID chip. If he gets lost, and someone brings him to a vet or shelter that has a reader for the pet RFID tag, they’ll be able to get your animal’s information from the tag and contact you to return him.
In shipping and logistics, this technology has a range of applications, and the RFID tags, while similar, are much more sophisticated. RFID tags used in shipping and logistics often come with their own power sources, so they can collect and transmit data about location, temperature, shipping stress, and more. If you’re in shipping and logistics and haven’t yet implemented RFID tracking for your freight shipments, you’re missing an opportunity to substantially improve operations. Let’s take a look at what RFID tracking can do for your shipments.
Offer Round-the-Clock Shipping Updates
One of the biggest benefits of RFID tracking for shipments is the possibility of monitoring the freight and the conditions it’s exposed to in real-time as the freight moves through the supply chain. Imagine getting an alert when your shipment of perishables is left out in the hot sun — before it’s had time to melt or go rancid.
RFID tracking uses cell networks and satellites to relay shipment information in real-time. Monitor the temperature of shipments, get data on shocks and impacts shipments to sustain, and track the location of your shipments. With this data at your disposal, you’ll have the power to intervene if things start to go wrong for your shipment. Of course, you’ll also be able to make changes after the fact to ensure that causes of shipping damage don’t go unaddressed.
Imagine being able to check an entire shipment of goods into your warehouse without having to open up all the boxes and scan all the barcodes. Barcodes were a great technology for their time, but they’re one whose time has passed.
To read a barcode, you have to place the barcode scanner head-on to the code and within a certain distance in order to get a reading. RFID tracking tags aren’t nearly so finicky. All you have to do is get the reader with a certain distance of the RFID tag, so it can activate the tag or pick up the signal to begin broadcasting from an active tag, and you can collect all the information on the tag instantaneously. You can check shipments in and out much faster this way, and you’ll need far fewer employees to do it. RFID tags can also help you keep track of where shipments are in the warehouse, which can greatly streamline pick-and-pack processes.
In a global supply chain environment where one bad ingredient can cascade through hundreds or even thousands of products, visibility is crucial. Disruptions to the supply chain, like natural disasters, disease outbreaks, port congestion, and even traffic jams are getting more common, and distributors increasingly need to know exactly where their shipments are in real-time.
RFID tracking technology offers the visibility you need to work around supply chain disruptions and mitigate liability due to faulty products. That’s one reason why RFID tracking has become so popular in the food supply chain, where it can be used to track individual food products and each of the ingredients that go into them, creating data streams that suppliers need to track down contaminated products for food recalls and offering real-time updates that help distributors keep their perishable foodstuffs at safe temperatures as they distribute them.
When you need to know where your shipments are, streamline warehousing processes, and track the journey of individual materials and ingredients as they move through processing and manufacture and into distribution, you need RFID tracking technology. These little tracking tags can provide a surprisingly sophisticated level of detail about what your shipments are facing en route, and can be the difference between a ruined shipment and a saved one, or a late shipment and a timely one. Start using RFID tracking today, and find out firsthand what it can do for your shipments.
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