And how can we also deploy the technology in our large warehouse?
Start by asking what problems exist in your current operations. Do you waste time looking for specific products within the warehouse? Are shipments from the warehouses to the stores accurate? Do you have problems returning items from stores to the warehouse? If any of these are issues, then you will want to make sure you develop a solution that resolves these problems.
My suggestion would be to conduct a pilot to determine the potential benefits. You will need to purchase some tags and readers. I would suggest using passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID. Have the tag placed on the carton containing the appliance. Place it so that it is not near any metal within the box. When you put an item away in the warehouse, read its RFID tag and associate it with a rack location by scanning a bar code on the rack. You might need to develop a simple application that can make this association.
When an item is ordered from the store, you should be able to generate a pick order that indicates the precise location of the product that needs to be picked. When the item is loaded onto the truck, you can read the tag again and confirm that the correct items are being loaded onto the right vehicle. Your software should then send an advance shipment notice to the store. Once the store receives the items, you can pass them through a portal at the back of the store. This will confirm that all goods that were supposed to be shipped were, in fact, shipped. If a product is not received, then the system should generate an SMS text message to a manager, who can investigate the problem.
The same process can be used to confirm that the right item is shipped to a customer. By linking the RFID solution to your existing back-end inventory-management system, you should be able to get a better picture of what’s in stock and perhaps be able to reduce safety-stock levels, which means you won’t have to mark down items when they become too old to sell.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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