Expert Insight: Guest Contribution

By Kevin Payne
Senior Director of Marketing

Intelleflex Corporation

Date: July 28, 2011

Supply Chain Comment: Getting The Most Out of Your Supply Chain

RFID-Based Solutions Are One Option that Can Positively Impact the Bottom Line Today

How can you wring every last drop of efficiency out of your supply chain? Even before the recession, businesses were challenged with finding new ways to cut costs, optimize performance and streamline operations. This typically meant that companies were looking at new technologies or new ways of implementing existing technologies.

RFID-based solutions are one option that can positively impact the bottom line today. RFID? You may say “been there, done that.” Over the years, RFID has promised benefits for a variety of applications but the existing technology at the time may have been unable to successfully address key business’ requirements because the performance wasn’t there or, when the pilot worked well, the solution was simply too costly to implement.

But RFID has changed. New Battery-Assisted Passive (BAP) RFID solutions are providing the necessary performance to work in real-world supply chain environments at affordable price points. As a result, they can generate a positive ROI, sometimes in as little as a few months. Here are three reasons why BAP RFID merits a look when it comes to improving supply chain efficiency.

1. Improved Performance

Getting reliable reads from tags in RF-unfriendly environments such as around metals and liquids or inside packaging is near impossible for most passive RFID solutions – thereby limiting adoption. Yet, in most supply chain applications, reading/writing at a distance, around objects or inside containers or packaging is essential. BAP-based RFID is capable of ranges up to 300 feet or more – and range equals penetration in and around RF-challenging materials often found in the supply chain, from re-usable containers to pallets to inside packages.

2. No need to Redesign Workflows

Because BAP tags can be read at much greater distances, and in and around packaging and containers, it’s easier to read tags and capture information as items or vehicles (trucks, forklifts and equipment) move around a warehouse, loading dock or yard. There’s little or no need to redesign workflows, adjust traffic patterns or create choke points. This speeds and simplifies implementations, further reducing costs.

3. Support for Sensors and On-tag Memory

It’s increasingly critical to store information about assets and monitor the condition of products throughout the supply chain. BAP RFID can support memory directly on the chip, along with the ability to include condition monitoring sensors for tracking and recording important product information – such as temperature – directly on the tags. You can store information about the asset (identification, maintenance records, waypoint data, etc.) on the tag attached directly to the asset. In addition, temperature or other condition sensors provide the ability to monitor and record the condition of perishable items such as fresh produce, frozen foods, meats, dairy items and biopharmaceutical products in-transit to enable real-time decision making and reduce waste.

Final Thoughts

RFID that supports how a supply chain works – rather than reworking the supply chain – enables viable solutions. For tracking and monitoring perishable or processed foods, pharmaceuticals, reusable transport items or other assets, new Battery-Assisted Passive RFID solutions provide a viable and cost-effective approach.

For more information contact Kevin at:

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About the Author

Kevin Payne is Senior Director of Marketing at Intelleflex, a Silicon Valley company focused on on-demand data visibility. He has led marketing teams at both start up and mid-sized hi-tech firms including i365, Portal Software, SAS Institute and NEC Systems, Inc.

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Payne Says:

RFID that supports how a supply chain works - rather than reworking the supply chain - enables viable solutions.

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