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Scalability Is Key to RFID Compliance

When working to meet RFID compliance mandates, it is important to implement a scalable solution that not only satisfies today's needs, but also allows for future growth.
By Mike Kuhno
In addition to using automated tagging solutions, a facility can benefit from manual tagging stations to process items requiring reconciliation and non-conveyable items. Manual tagging stations may also generate tags for pallets built to order, ensuring that the operator knows the proper panel to place all RFID tags on the items and pallet.

After all carton and pallet tagging is complete, employees may use stretch-wrap readers, forklift readers and portals to read pallets as they're built, moved and loaded on trucks for shipment. This tracking ensures that the company keeps proper inventory levels, that it knows the location of tagged items in the facility, and that the staff completes shipping orders as expected and provides critical business intelligence of product and order flow throughout a facility.

Finally, a well-designed RFID-tagging solution includes full integration into existing IT environments, while providing configurability to adapt to new business-intelligence systems. This IT integration ensures that critical tagging data and line-performance metrics are available in real-time to the enterprise to ensure that a facility is running at optimal performance.

RFID and the Future
Many expect RFID to provide huge advantages throughout the supply chain. In manufacturing, RFID will help managers respond more quickly to market demands and do a better job of planning production. In distribution centers, it will facilitate the automation of inventory counts and speed shipping and receiving. For retailers, RFID will help reduce stock-outs, enable product tracking, potentially reduce theft and streamline point of sale transactions.

We can only speculate on the future of RFID. Many of today's technologies continue to evolve, including chipless tags, conductive inks, tags integrated in corrugate and packaging, multifrequency tags, semi-active tags, dust networking, etc. Before companies can leverage this evolving technology for maximum effect in their supply chain, it is imperative to implement a scalable solution that not only satisfies today's needs, but also allows for future growth.

Mike Kuhno is an RFID solutions specialist with Accu-Sort Systems, an auto-ID solutions provider based in Telford, Pa. As a product-line manager, he oversaw the development of the FAST Suite, which standardized Accu-Sort's products for labeling, sorting and inventory management.

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