RFID has been around for a long time. Some companies who did get on the RFID bandwagon quite early had mixed results and questionable ROI. However, over the last few years, more and more companies across multiple industries have reported successful deployments. Like with any technology deployment, success very much depends on the underlying business priorities and operational factors.
Here, we identify a few key factors which we pay attention to when evaluating RFIDs “fit for purpose” for our clients.
At what granularity level do you require your inventory to be counted?
Businesses such as warehouse operations perform pallet or equivalent cycle counts while some businesses such as apparel and footwear inventory require a fine grain item level (UPC, SKU) inventory to deal with a “high mix complexity” due to size, colour, style. Hence, RFID provides better ROI for such item-level inventory purposes due to the inherent convenience and efficiency of RFID over Barcode.
How frequently do you perform inventory/cycle counts?
It is imperative that businesses keep their inventories updated, as frequently as possible in order to cater to their business needs optimally and effectively. RFID technology suits this need for rapid automated cycle counts. If you need very frequent cycle counts such as daily, near real-time or real-time, it makes more sense to employ RFID due to the convenience and speed over a barcode-based approach.
Do you deal with high-value low volume items?
When you deal with high-value low volume items such as jewellery, or exclusive branded merchandise, the physical security of such items is of paramount importance to avoid losses due to theft. Also, the low quantities of such items kept in the inventory pose a challenge on accurate order fulfilment. Hence RFID serves as a Security tag as well as an efficient mechanism of item-level tracking of merchandise.
Are your products perishable due to seasonality?
Products in retail and healthcare industries are prone to perishability due to seasonality. Such products which are targeted for a particular time frame or season must be closely tracked to ensure the optimal inventories are kept to service orders during the time period.
With RFID technology, businesses can keep track of items consistently and accurately.
What is the Omni-channel visibility your products require?
Certain businesses would require to notify the availability of items in real-time or near real-time across multiple channels such as web, mobile etc to customers and suppliers. This requires a high inventory accuracy which is a key benefit of RFID.
Does your business require assets constantly being tracked to increase visibility and efficiency?
Businesses such as healthcare and equipment rentals need assets being tracked constantly. In such a context RFID technology can be employed to enable constant visibility and accountability thus making business processes more efficient.