Radio frequency identification provides a faster and more accurate way to count items than using either bar codes or a manual paper-and-pencil method. At the very least, RFID should, if a system is properly designed and implemented, greatly reduce the amount of time required to perform inventory counts. It can also help to improve accuracy.
Is that enough to justify deploying an RFID system for tracking tires? It might or might not be. You can figure out the system’s cost and the ongoing price of the tags, and then determine how much labor could be saved so that your client can determine a return on investment.
Most companies currently deploying RFID are looking for more than just a faster way to count inventory. In many cases, retailers want to reduce the number of sales lost due to inventory being unavailable when a customer wants to buy something. In addition, factories and warehouse operators want to ensure that the proper products are shipped at the right time, which keeps customers happy and sometimes reduces chargebacks by retail customers.
I would suggest you consider the operational challenges that your client might face. Are tires being lost or stolen? Are sales being lost due to poor inventory-management practices? Is labor being wasted searching for products? If so, you could pilot a solution to determine if RFID could reduce or eliminate such errors—and if so, you could then consider rolling out a full solution.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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