Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

Access This Premium Content

Options To Access This Article:

What Subscribers Are Saying

  • "Probably the best investment I've ever made."
    Steve Meizlish, President & CEO, MeizCorp Services, Inc.
  • "I have found that RFID Journal provides an objective viewpoint of RFID. It you are looking for a resource that provides insights as to the application and implications of deploying RFID, RFID Journal will meet your needs, It gives you a broad perspective of RFID, beyond the retail supply chain."
    Mike O'Shea, Director of Corporate AutoID/RFID Strategies & Technologies, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • "No other source provides the consistent value-added insight that Mark Robert and his staff do. In a world dominated by press release after press release, RFID Journal is developing as the one place to go to make the most sense out of the present and future of RFID in commerce."
    Bob Hurley, Project Leader for RFID, Bayer HealthCare's Consumer Care Division
  • "RFID Journal is the one go-to source for information on the latest in RFID technology."
    Bruce Keim, Director, Hewlett-Packard
  • "RFID Journal is the only source I need to keep up to the minute with the happenings in the RFID world."
    Blair Hawley, VP of Supply Chain, Remington Products Company

Innovative Warehouse Solutions

RFID can improve efficiencies and deliver cost savings in warehouses.
By Toby Rush
Feb 01, 2010—Many warehouse managers and supply-chain consultants are skeptical that RFID can deliver value in the warehouse. But recent technology advances coupled with a new approach to deployment in warehouses can improve efficiencies and deliver a return on investment.

Initially, it was generally believed that case-level tagging was essential to meet retailer initiatives and provide business value. That meant manufacturers would have to equip their lines with RFID hardware to tag cases or even items and install RFID dock-door portals in their warehouses. They'd also have to change processes to handle outsourced manufacturing, third-party logistics providers, segmentation of stock-keeping units and so on. In other words, an RFID-enabled manufacturing and warehouse operation would require a significant investment in equipment and be a logistical nightmare with few clear benefits.

Today, we can tag at the pallet level and associate cases with pallet labels, drastically reducing tag costs, infrastructure and capital expenditures. If you have a distributed low-volume operation—or can't afford an automated data-collection system or support significant process change—you can track pallets using handheld RFID interrogators. The next level up is to RFID-enable warehouse dock doors to automate data collection at specific choke points. That allows you to track pallets as they go in and out of your warehouse.

But the best way to achieve warehouse efficiencies is to improve visibility within the warehouse. Accurate and automated RFID-enabled pallet tracking can deliver many warehouse benefits, including the ability to error-proof shipping, receiving and put-away, as well as improve labor productivity and customer satisfaction.

You can deploy a passive ultrahigh-frequency real-time locating system (RTLS). Systems that use phased array antennas can read tags from hundreds of feet and locate tagged pallets fairly accurately. The sweet spot for passive RTLS is open bulk storage warehouses or rack storage where location accuracies of roughly 5 feet to 10 feet will get the job done.

If you require better location accuracy, consider an RFID-enabled forklift truck solution. The forklift reads the RFID tags to identify the pallets. Stray reads have been drastically reduced by the use of advanced filters in RFID readers. There are two ways to determine truck—and, therefore, pallet—location. You can place metal-mount RFID tags on racks, or use an optical-positioning system, in which a camera mounted on the forklift reads 2-D bar codes on the ceiling, providing location accuracy to within inches.

The more accurately you can locate pallets in your warehouse, the more efficiencies you can achieve, but precision comes at a cost. The key to deploying an RFID system in your warehouse that will deliver an ROI is to identify your pain points and choose the most cost-effective option to help you eliminate them.

Toby Rush is president of Rush Tracking Systems (recently acquired by Pharos Capital Group), an RFID systems integrator and solutions provider based in Lenexa, Kan.
To continue reading this article, please log in or choose a purchase option.

Option 1: Become a Premium Member.

One-year subscription, unlimited access to Premium Content: $189

Gain access to all of our premium content and receive 10% off RFID Reports and RFID Events!

Option 2: Purchase access to this specific article.

This article contains 469 words and 1 page. Purchase Price: $19.99

Upgrade now, and you'll get immediate access to:

  • Case Studies

    Our in-dept case-study articles show you, step by step, how early adopters assessed the business case for an application, piloted it and rolled out the technology.

    Free Sample: How Cognizant Cut Costs by Deploying RFID to Track IT Assets

  • Best Practices

    The best way to avoid pitfalls is to know what best practices early adopters have already established. Our best practices have helped hundreds of companies do just that.

  • How-To Articles

    Don’t waste time trying to figure out how to RFID-enable a forklift, or deciding whether to use fixed or mobile readers. Our how-to articles provide practical advice and reliable answers to many implementation questions.

  • Features

    These informative articles focus on adoption issues, standards and other important trends in the RFID industry.

    Free Sample: Europe Is Rolling Out RFID

  • Magazine Articles

    All RFID Journal Premium Subscribers receive our bimonthly RFID Journal print magazine at no extra cost, and also have access to the complete online archive of magazine articles from past years.

Become a member today!

RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations