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Should We Use RFID for Order Fulfillment?

Posted By RFID Journal, 12.09.2014

Would you recommend deploying radio frequency identification for this purpose?

—Name withheld


It would be difficult to say without knowing a lot of information about your operations. In general, I would say that you might want to look at an RFID system if you have a problem with shipping accuracy, if you are spending a lot of time and labor checking shipments to be sure they are accurate, or if you want to speed up throughput.

There are a couple of factors to consider. Can you place tags on goods when they are being manufactured (if they are your own products), or can your suppliers put tags on the products (if you are purchasing them)? The nature of the shipments is also important to consider. If you are tracking only pallets or cartons, it would be easy to place a tag on each and read them all as they are moved through a portal. But if you have metal parts in cartons and are trying to read them on a pallet, it would be difficult to interrogate the tags on cartons at the pallet's middle.

The number of items that need to be tagged will also be a factor. Let's say you are shipping 1 million items annually, and it costs 10 cents to tag each one. That's $100,000 in recurring tag costs. If you are going to save more than $100,000 in labor and chargebacks, then it's worth it. If you are not, then it isn't.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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