How to Automate Supply Chain Management with RFID and NFC Solutions

Published: March 26, 2024

Supply chain management is key to the success of modern businesses, enabling teams to ensure essential materials and products reach customers within strict timelines.

However, this process becomes increasingly complicated as operations grow and scale, meaning business owners must develop considered processes and management systems to optimize efficiency.

Thankfully, as most aspects of supply chain management involve repetitive actions and simple processes, this core component of business operations is a prime candidate for automation.

To understand the steps organizations must take when developing such systems, this article will explore how to automate supply chain management with RFID and NFC solutions.

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RFID/NFC Asset Tracking

Supply chain and inventory management begins with keeping accurate records of all materials and stock, a task that can be simplified using NFC or RFID asset tracking systems.

Traditionally, businesses would track available assets manually by recording printed serial numbers within a spreadsheet, though this process can be automated with the aid of serialized RFID or NFC tags.

RFID tags are attached to individual units of inventory and loaded with relevant data describing each item. When inventory is delivered, these tags will pass through a scanning unit designed to automatically read and analyze this data to be stored in a digital inventory management system.

Inventory Management Software

The information stored in RFID or NFC tags associated with specific items will be immediately uploaded to the business’ inventory management software as soon as the materials have been scanned.

This information will then be added to existing stock counts to accurately reflect live inventory levels for each type of material, helping teams to optimize resource allocation tasks.

Inventory management software can be customized by teams to automate material procurement and storage processes. RFID or NFC tags will be scanned as materials are used or inventory is shipped, with stock levels automatically adjusted to reflect these changes. If stock counts drop below a specific threshold, materials will be automatically reordered to account for the deficit. 

Monitored Order Fulfillment

RFID and NFC tags assigned to manufactured products can be used to ensure shipped items are delivered on time, with businesses able to track the location of RFID and NFC tags in real-time to provide customers with accurate information regarding the status of their orders. 

Automatic updates will be sent when products are scanned at loading bays, delivery depots and processing centers, enabling businesses to monitor shipments in transit to update customers if any issues arise, with this process helping to increase the efficiency of logistics management. 

The Benefits of RFID and NFC Supply Chain Management

Reduced costs: As RFID and NFC tags do not need to be manually scanned in the same way as barcodes or printed serial numbers, organizations can save money on labor costs whilst improving efficiency.

Improved visibility: NFC and RFID technology allows teams to monitor assets in real-time, meaning businesses can identify delays or potential issues immediately to reduce downtime and quickly rectify problems.

Data analysis: Stored RFID and NFC data can be used to illustrate changes in demand and emerging trends to help businesses improve scheduling and material procurement processes via data analysis.

Quality control: Many RFID and NFC tags can be used to assess environmental conditions including humidity and temperature, recording this information in the tag itself. This means if materials or products have been improperly handled, teams will be made aware as soon as the items are delivered.

Summary

Supply chain management and related order fulfillment processes are essential to the success of modern businesses, though appropriately organizing and assessing large quantities of stock and raw materials can often be a complicated and time-consuming task for unprepared teams. 

By utilizing RFID and NFC technology to accurately analyze and monitor key assets, teams can automate a wide range of supply chain management processes including material procurement, inventory management and order fulfillment to measurably improve operational efficiency.

Sean Toohey is a freelance journalist and digital media specialist with extensive experience covering news, developments, and emerging trends in the healthcare industry. Currently focused on safety, security, and compliance with regards to modern healthcare institutions, Sean’s work explores actionable ways to support patients and healthcare providers using smart technologies and advanced software solutions.