Or should the tags be affixed only to pallets or boxes?
That depends on what specifically you are trying to achieve. If your goal was to make sure that pallets arrive at the correct store or are moved onto the right truck, then obviously, you could just tag the pallet. If you wanted to know that cases or individual parts or DVD players were put onto the proper trucks or arrived at the correct location, then it might be enough to shrink-wrap the pallet and affix a tag to the shrink-wrap. As long as the pallet was intact upon arrival, you should be able to assume all of the cases, parts or DVD players put on the pallet had arrived.
But what if you were sending pallets to a transshipment point, where the pallets would then be broken down and mixed pallets would be created, containing some cases of one product and other cases of another product? Or what if you wanted to ensure not just that a pallet of parts arrived, but that the parts were sent to the production line in a timely manner? Then, you would want to tag the individual boxes placed on the pallet.
There are many applications in which tagging pallets would be sufficient, and there are many others in which you would want to tag cases or individual items. The key is to understand the benefits you want to achieve, and to then determine the RFID system’s cost, based on what you need to tag. In some cases, it might not make sense to tag individual units—the benefits simply might not be there at current tag prices. In other cases, however, the benefits for tagging items could be very significant.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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