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How Is RFID Used in Warehouse Management?

Posted By RFID Journal, 12.02.2014

Can you please provide some examples?

—Name withheld

———

Different companies use RFID in different ways, depending on their warehouse operations, processes and challenges. Generally speaking, RFID portals can be used at receiving bays to identify RFID-tagged pallets arriving from factories or suppliers. You can easily read tags on containers, roll cages and other conveyances. It is more challenging to interrogate tags on every case on a pallet, or every item, unless the goods are composed of RF-friendly materials.

Once pallets, containers or items are received, they can be put away. One challenge has been associating a pallet or container with a particular rack location, since readers often pick up multiple locations. Some companies put tags in the floor and a reader antenna under forklift trucks to identify location. But multiple systems need to come together to make it possible to perform the association consistently, and that investment hasn't been made because the demand for such a system isn't there yet (the reason is that most goods do not arrive with tags).

Still, you could employ a handheld reader to walk around and find items that need to be picked when an order comes in. This can save time and resources. When a shipment is being put together for a retail store or a customer, tags can be read either during pallet assembly or as a pallet is moved through a portal and onto a truck. Software can verify that everything that needs to be shipped is being shipped, and that no extra items have been included in an order. The ability to verify an order is 100 percent accurate can be a big benefit to companies that are hit with chargebacks if an order is off.

There are also overhead readers that can be installed in warehouses that interrogate tags constantly. These can enable real-time inventory counts and provide the locations of specific pallets or containers. The right solution depends on your operations and what you want to use RFID to achieve.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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