For example, would the technology be needed in a warehouse with low capacity and throughput, considering that it would increase operating expenses?
It would be difficult to generalize about what types of warehouse should or should not use RFID. There may be specific issues or situations in any warehouse that could be addressed with the technology. I would say that RFID is a better, faster, more accurate way to count and identify items. So a warehouse that has many different products or versions of a product (such as the same shirt in many different colors and sizes), or items that are of high value or tracked in bulk, are most suited to using RFID.
That being said, if you have a warehouse with low capacity and throughput, but the items are of high value and are often stolen, it might make sense to use RFID to track when the products go in and when they leave. You might even monitor them while they are on the shelf, so tha you could set alerts if they moved at times when the items were not supposed to do so. Similarly, if you have a warehouse with low capacity and throughput, but the items look similar yet are different and staff often ship the wrong items to customers, it might make sense to use RFID to improve shipping accuracy.
I generally advise that companies start with a problem and then explore whether RFID is a solution. If workers spend too much time searching for or counting items in a warehouse, if inventory visibility and accuracy are low, if personnel are having trouble identifying items that were the first in and should be the first out, if inventory ends up missing, or if there are too many shipping errors, your warehouse might benefit from RFID. You’d have to conduct a cost-benefit analysis to be sure.
If your warehouse has no problems or issues, you probably wouldn’t benefit from RFID. But I’ve yet to meet anyone who says there are no issues in their warehouse.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal