Absolutely. The value of radio frequency identification is that it provides greater information regarding an item’s location and movements. Typically, enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications track the unique serial numbers of pallets, and sometimes specific lots. But they usually lack fields for unique serial numbers for individual items, because goods have historically been identified via bar codes, which include only identifiers for the manufacturer and product.
We have written about a number of companies that have done this, including World Kitchen, which integrated RFID with its SAP system for pallets being shipped to customers, including Walmart (see How World Kitchen Got It Right).
Retailers tracking unique items have often chosen to have a standalone RFID application for tracking inventory. At the end of the day, they transfer information about the number of units on the floor as batch data without serial numbers. In other words, they have the RFID solution tell the SAP system, “We have 12 medium-size blue t-shirts in inventory,” rather than saying “We have 12 medium-size blue t-shirts in inventory and here are their serial numbers.”
As more companies adopt RFID for tracking individual items, SAP, Oracle and other software companies are likely to enhance their software applications to manage serialized data about individual products.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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