A critical operational challenge for those in the transport and logistics industry today, is maintaining real-time visibility and control over the location and status of goods as they move through the supply chain. Traditional tracking methods such as manual data entry can be time-consuming and can result in errors, which can lead to delays, loss of goods, and reduced efficiency.
Proving to be a game-changer for Australian businesses, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology provides a more accurate and efficient method of asset tracking. By using small tags or transponders, RFID technology enables remote and real-time tracking, monitoring, and identification of objects, whether they are physical goods, people, or even livestock. RFID tags are often used by businesses to secure valuable goods, such as high-end equipment or hazardous materials, and improve their security processes to prevent theft or loss.
This technology works by assigning each asset with a unique tag that can be read remotely using RFID readers. These tags can be easily attached to assets, and the RFID reader can then scan the tag to obtain stored asset information such as location, maintenance status, or usage history. RFID tags can be either passive or active. Passive RFID tags rely on the energy emitted by the reader to power the tag, while active RFID tags have their own power source and can communicate over greater distances.
RFID technology can help organisations improve the efficiency of their operations. By having real-time visibility into the location and status of assets, organisations can better allocate resources and prioritise tasks. For example, RFID-enabled tracking systems can be used to monitor inventory levels and automatically trigger restocking requests when inventory is running low. This can help reduce stock-outs and minimise the risk of lost sales.
A case in point, EastPack, one of the largest kiwifruit pack houses in New Zealand, has improved the efficiency of their warehouse operations by implementing an RFID and indoor vehicle management supply chain solution. The approach was designed, developed and deployed by Peacock Bros. for EastPack, who needed more than just ‘point of activity’ tracking of RFID pallets to fulfill their supply chain visibility requirements.
The resulting supply chain management system now tracks the movement of all of the forklifts and pallets within centimetres, at every second of the day and at every facility. Continuous monitoring of activities allows for full inventory reporting on where the stock is located, quantity, expiry date and much more, as well as analysing the performance of indoor vehicles such as forklifts to ensure optimal efficiencies within the warehouses. This is made possible by the forklifts being fitted with optical cameras that identify the relative location of position markers suspended from the warehouse ceiling. The location information is fed to a vehicle-mounted mobile computer that continuously relays data such as location, speed and direction to the main warehouse management system. By adding automated RFID pallet tag readers and height sensors to the forklift, the warehouse system knows the location and height of the tagged pallets, even if they are in motion onboard the forklift.
In addition to improving efficiency, RFID technology can also help organisations reduce costs. By automating many manual processes, RFID technology can eliminate the need for manual data entry, reduce the risk of human error, and free up staff time for more important tasks. For example, RFID-enabled tracking systems can automate the process of checking in and out equipment, reducing the need for manual data entry and freeing up staff time.
Another benefit of RFID technology is that it can be used to enhance customer service. By having real-time visibility into the location and status of tagged goods, organisations can provide customers with accurate information about the availability of products or services. For example, RFID-enabled tracking systems can be used to monitor the movement of packages and provide customers with real-time updates on their delivery status.
RFID technology is a powerful tool for asset tracking that can help organisations improve efficiency, security, reduce costs, enhance customer service, and meet regulatory requirements. With its ability to provide real-time visibility into the location and status of goods, RFID technology should be a consideration for any organisation seeking to improve the efficiency and accuracy of their operations and meet customer demand.
EastPak’s RFID tracking solution was designed, developed and deployed by Peacock Bros