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RFID Implementation Best Practises

rfid

Implementing RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology can bring significant benefits to businesses, including increased efficiency, accuracy, and visibility in their operations. However, RFID implementation can be complex, and there are several considerations to keep in mind to ensure its success.

Here are some tips you can’t afford to miss when implementing RFID technology-

A) Define Your Goals and Requirements: Start by defining your goals for implementing RFID and the requirements for achieving them. Consider factors such as the type of RFID technology to use, the tags to use, the reader infrastructure, and the software needed to manage and analyze the data.

B)Start Small: Implementing RFID technology can be a complex and expensive process, so it’s important to start small and pilot the technology in a small area or with a limited number of products. This will help you to identify any issues or challenges and make adjustments before scaling up.

C) Conduct a Pilot Test: Before implementing RFID technology across your organization, conduct a pilot test to ensure that the technology works as intended and to identify any potential issues or limitations. A pilot test also allows you to train your employees on the new system and get their feedback.

D) Choose the Right RFID Tags: Different RFID tags are suitable for different applications. Consider factors such as the environment in which the tags will be used, the required read range, and the material on which the tag will be applied. Also, ensure that the tags are compatible with the RFID reader infrastructure you plan to use.

E) Consider Data Security: Ensure that your RFID system is secure by implementing appropriate security measures such as access controls, encryption, and data backups. Also, ensure that your system complies with relevant regulations such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

F) Train Your Employees: Train your employees on how to use the new RFID technology, including how to read tags, troubleshoot issues, and interpret data. Encourage them to provide feedback and suggestions for improving the system.

G) Test, Test, Test: Test your RFID system thoroughly to ensure that it works as intended and can handle the expected volume of data. Conduct regular tests to identify any issues or bottlenecks and address them promptly.

H) Integration with Existing Systems: Ensure that your RFID system integrates seamlessly with existing systems such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and WMS (Warehouse Management System) to maximize efficiency and avoid duplication of effort.

Implementing RFID technology can be a significant investment, but it can also bring significant benefits to your organization. By following these tips, you can increase the likelihood of a successful implementation and maximize the ROI of your investment.

Author: Saurabh Khare
Date of Publishing: March 2,2023

Apparel retailer streamlines its labeling process with BarTender®

bartender

The challenge: The company faced important business challenges

  • The retailer’s supply chain is vertically integrated. It includes online sales, brick and mortar sales, catalogue sales, apparel, and accessory vendors, as well as distribution outlets and warehouses. It needed to find a consistent and uniform method of labelling the more than 150,000 items from over 500 separate merchandise suppliers that passed through its doors daily.
  • Suppliers were creating their own homemade labelling, requiring extra time and labour at distribution centres for correction. The company wanted standardized labelling, printed and affixed at the site of manufacture, to improve supply chain visibility and velocity.
  • The company had to keep up with the velocity of merchandise seasonality — items, inventories, and manufacturers are in a constant state of flux, based upon new season fashions and adjustments to merchandise between seasonal cycles.

The key was to find a more consistent and efficient method of labeling that would follow merchandise from the site of manufacture to the point of sale, eliminating cross-dock labelling. Goods from suppliers were often incorrectly and inconsistently labeled and had to be relabeled at the warehouse before they could head to retail racks. These label edits consumed considerable extra time in warehouse and distribution centers, which slowed supply and added costs to operations. The company looked for ways to increase labeling accuracy and minimize the time consumed correcting, designing, and affixing labels in warehouse and distribution centers. There was also a second cost problem. The company licensed its legacy labeling system based on a number of users. Since every seasonal shift in supplier also meant that different vendors were creating the labeling, the retailer was paying for technology that went unused most of the year.

The solution: finding a better way to label

  • The company wanted a labelling solution that would align more effectively with its business needs and address its labelling pain points. The company determined that their new labelling system should:
  • Produce consistent and accurate labeling for the volume of merchandise items that came through sales and distribution points daily.
  • Be implemented in a straightforward and uncomplicated manner with minimal training. The company’s worldwide group of suppliers ranged from home-based micro businesses in the developing world to large, traditional apparel manufacturers, with a wide variety of technological infrastructure and skills among them.
  • Be compatible with a wide spectrum of printing technologies, since the level of technological sophistication varied among the company’s constantly changing roster of suppliers.
  • Create a seamless interface to the diverse collection of supplier printers, so that the retailer’s own warehousing and distribution personnel no longer had to step in to correct and reprint incorrect labeling work — suppliers would have label templates and software that would enable standardization among their supplier community and, in turn, speed processes and reduce errors.
  • Offer a licensing agreement issued on a perprinter instead of on a per-user basis. The roster of suppliers was in continuous flux due to seasonality and other considerations — to avoid paying for unused labeling technology during a supplier’s “off-season,” the company could assign licenses to active manufacturers

BarTender delivers on cost and operational efficiency

After completing an RFP and systems evaluation process, the retailer chose BarTender® to manage the implementation of the new labeling system for their global supplier base. With BarTender, the retailer can integrate the new labeling program deeply and completely into its business processes, enabling interoperability, consistency, economy and efficiency of operations. BarTender’s per-printer licensing resolves paying for idle technology used only seasonally.

Standardizing labeling around the world with BarTender’s Print Portal

To create uniform templates for labels that its ever-changing corps suppliers could access and use for labeling merchandise at their local facilities, BarTender label templates were created and then disseminated using BarTender’s web-based Print Portal. With Print Portal’s print time forms, suppliers can select a label format, and then using pre-populated menus, select the appropriate data to include on the label. Standardizing labeling across all suppliers eliminates the homemade (and inconsistent) label-making that had occurred previously. The Web portal supports interfaces to a broad assortment of browsers, including Safari and Internet Explorer/Edge, which also gave users flexible alternatives based on available technology.

Interoperability with a diverse range of printers and operating systems

Since its global supplier base changes continuously, the retailer was never certain which printers and operating systems its vendors were using. The company created interfaces between BarTender and a broad variety of printers, providing support to print on Windows and iOS operating systems, positioning itself for any situation, and adding agility to its printer and labeling business processes.

Optimization of label printing

Labeling now resides wholly with its supplier base. By designing an easy-to-use business process engineered to eliminate mistakes and workarounds, the company is able to achieve its goals of goods arriving at warehouse and distribution points correctly labeled, gaining new efficiencies and saving resources, time and money.

Agility of training and deployment

The company needed a streamlined implementation process that would quickly get vendors on board with labeling. BarTender can print to virtually any output device — it operates at a plug-and-play level with most printers. The company created predefined templates in BarTender. They’re readily understandable with simple, automated production, even if English isn’t the supplier’s native language. The company backs this up with video training for the labeling system that it includes as part of its supplier onboarding process.

Benefits

Because business rules and processes are quickly revised and shared using BarTender, the company has increased its agility, enabling rapid response to any future business scenarios that could unfold. This agility enables the retailer to get to market with its goods faster, respond to fashion trends more quickly, and streamline operations from supplier points of origin through warehouses, distribution centers and onward to online, catalog and retail outlets, saving time, resources and money. Labeling, the carrier of item traceability data throughout the supply chain, is consistent and standardized, regardless of the printer or operating system used, or the technological understanding of the supplier doing the labeling. Solving critical issues in labeling, licensing, deployment and execution have enabled the retailer to focus on business growth and maintain its reputation as a retail market leader.

Synopsis

  • A multi-national retailer needed to find a consistent and uniform method of labeling 150,000 items from over 500 separate merchandise suppliers each day.
  • The company wanted standardized labeling that followed merchandise from the site of manufacture to the point of sale, to improve supply chain visibility and velocity, and to reduce errors.
  • The retailer’s merchandise came from different vendors during different seasons. They wanted to avoid paying for unused technology during a supplier’s “off-season.”
  • The company required a labeling system that could work with the varied levels of technological infrastructure and skill in its supplier community, with simple adoption and minimal training required.
  • The company chose BarTender. Now, labels are disseminated globally through BarTender’s browser-based Print Portal. The supplier enters a SKU, generating the appropriate labels automatically.

Blog Credit: BarTender Resources

  • The system can print to virtually any printer, including Windows and iOS.
  • Shifting licenses to active manufacturers avoids the cost of maintaining unused technology.
  • The system is easy to learn and easy to use. After viewing a short video, suppliers are ready to start printing their labels.
  • With their BarTender labeling system, the retailer has captured new system efficiencies and savings of time, resources and money

Why digital printing makes sense for private brand labels?

digital printing

Digital printed labels are ideal for brand promotional labeling in custom designs you require, quantity you desire & shortest possible  turnaround times  (as low as 24 -48 hours). Unlike conventional printing that requires design plates, die tooling, sample proofs & approval etc. Digital printing simply needs an image file for high speed, high quality through put for vibrant colour labels on a variety of materials (paper, synthetic, tag) & finish (Gloss or Matt).

Digital printed labels are a great way to test product labels and see how labels look and behave on your packaging without committing or ordering bulk quantities. Further, it allows you to print variable data, product barcodes, consumer QR code and other regulatory or compliance information all in one go. Perhaps the best feature and benefit of digital printing is that every label can be unique and personalised for each customer, festival, event, promotion & more. This is easily achieved by integrating database files like MS excel with your design file. All this is possible in a single run without any changeover or extra cost.

Digital Printing is best suited for these emerging categories:

  1. Bread/ Bakery/ Coffee
  2. Food Delivery/ Take out
  3. Health and Personal Care
  4. Essential Oils/ Candles
  5. Home entrepreneurs/ SOHO
  6. Events & promotions
  7. Private labels

Whether you need On-Demand digital printing solution (in-house) or personalised labels (short run/ small quantity) for your brand campaign, talk to our team of experts.

Author: Neha Jain
Date of Publishing: 1st August 2020

Industry 4.0 Applications in today’s digitized world

4.0

Industry 4.0 focuses on using digital technology to gather and analyze data across machines and business systems – enabling faster, more efficient processes. Many organizations are implementing changes today and preparing for a future where smart machines improve their business with increased productivity and efficiency through better analysis of the data. 

 

Here are just a few of the possible applications:

Internet of Things and the cloud: A key component of Industry 4.0 is the Internet of Things that is characterized by connected devices. Not only does this help internal operations, but through the use of the cloud environment where data is stored, equipment and operations can be optimized by leveraging the insights of others using the same equipment or to allow smaller enterprises access to the technology they wouldn’t be able to on their own.

Optimization of logistics and supply chains: A connected supply chain can adjust and accommodate when new information is presented. If a weather delay ties up a shipment, a connected system can proactively adjust to that reality and modify manufacturing priorities.

Predictive Maintenance: Predictive maintenance is a technique that uses condition-monitoring tools and techniques to track the performance of equipment during normal operation to detect possible defects and fix them before they result in failure.  IoT allows for different assets and systems to connect, work together, and share, analyze and action data.

Digital twins: In essence, a digital twin is a computer program that takes real-world data about a physical object or system as inputs and produces as outputs predictions or simulations of how that physical object or system will be affected by those inputs.

Autonomous equipment and vehicles: There are shipping yards that are leveraging autonomous cranes and trucks to streamline operations as they accept shipping containers from the ships managed via central control room.

Robots: From picking products at a warehouse to getting them ready to ship, autonomous robots can quickly and safely support manufacturers. Robots move goods around Amazon warehouses and also reduce costs and allow better use of floor space for the online retailer.

Additive manufacturing (3D printing): This technology has improved tremendously in the last decade and has progressed from primarily being used for prototyping to actual production. Advances in the use of metal additive manufacturing have opened up a lot of possibilities for production.

Intelligent Factories are more flexible, agile and responsive

Intelligence is often driven by device connectivity, the vertical integration of sensor /machine data into a horizontal business process. This IT/OT convergence allows to further automate manufacturing operations.  Organizations are gaining increased shop floor visibility, identifying process bottlenecks, and managing operations with greater agility. This, in turn, facilitates smart factory capabilities where rigid production lines are transformed into flexible manufacturing cells – making it possible to shift from mass production to mass customization. 

The numbers speak for themselves. Most manufacturing leaders report that Industry 4.0 has or will lead to positive change:

  • Increase productivity 
  • Increase profitability 
  • Improve product quality 
  • Increase customer satisfaction 
  • Improve machine reliability/uptime
  • Increase worker safety 

To solve challenges, improve business productivity and profits with use of barcode, RFID & IOT technologies (key components in IOT/ Industry 4.0), please talk to our team of solution experts with track record in delivering value for manufacturing, logistics & retail businesses !

Author: Gaganish Mittal
Date of Creation: 5th July, 2020

Item-level RFID in Retail: Optional to must have!

rfid

With the emergence of e-commerce, omnichannel fulfillment & next-day delivery, real-time inventory visibility (item- level) across the supply chain has become an imperative for global retailers & brand owners. One of the enablers for item-level visibility is UHF-Passive RFID (radio frequency identification): the new generation Auto-ID technology that provides a way for creating a digital identity for physical products & uses radio or wireless communication to uniquely identify and transmit data (accurately). Advantages (RFID over barcode) include unique identification (serialization), bulk -scanning (item, case or pallets), automation (receiving or shipping) & authentication (returns).

Key factors to consider when deploying an RFID system for Retail supply chain:

  1. RFID tags (inlay/ labels): A wide variety of RFID inlays & tags are available in the market. Ensure IC/ chip is EPC-compliant (Gen2 global standard) & ARC-lab certified (tested/ proven for Retail use). Further, depending on your products & packaging, you may have to pick more than one design (antenna) or form-factor (label, ticket or fabric) to ensure 99.9% tag readability (item-level) & accuracy. When & where to commission RFID tags (source tagging at the factory or DC/warehouse on receipt) is important too.
  2. RFID hardware (readers): From warehouse (fixed readers, portals, tunnels) to retail store devices (handheld, POS readers, anti-theft gates), make sure your hardware selection is brand or vendor-agnostic when it comes to your overall RFID infrastructure. This will enable the selection of high-performance products (99.9% readability) & right-functionality (speed, connectivity) suited to your process & environment. Further, hardware compliance (local regulations/ certifications), ease-of-use (user training), after-sales support (country-wide) & vendor expertise (domain) is vital in long-term.
  3. RFID software platform (Inventory): The least discussed but the most crucial piece in your RFID deployment is decided to develop your own application or choose a global RFID inventory-management software suite that will manage RFID tag commissioning, host real-time inventory data, drive mobile devices & tasks, integrate with ERP, SCM applications & provide dashboard, analytics & reports for decision-making. In terms of cost & scalability, pick one that suits your budget & needs, OPEX (pay per use) or CAPEX (turnkey) as per your IT policy.

Next, make sure to test your RFID use-case thoroughly. Poof-of-concept (pilot) in select DC or store locations will help you to understand technology (benefits, limitations), evaluate all above options (measure performance) & document results (objectives) A well-defined & executed RFID pilot project will further help you to progressively review (simplify) your business process & figure out the best way to solve specific problems (inventory stock-out or faster checkouts).

Lastly, please do quickly scale-up for enterprise-wide roll out to achieve ultimate goal of 99.9% item-level visibility (inventory accuracy), higher speed (of operations) & revenues (sales conversion), It’s imperative that RFID becomes a standard tool for product identification & data capture in your supply chain just as barcode is today.

Major retailers are attributing cost savings and increased sales to RFID technology (Source: Auburn research).  RFID technology:

  • Raises inventory accuracy from an average of 63% to 95%
  • Reduces retail out-of-stocks by up to 50%
  • Cuts cycle count times by 96%

Talk to our RFID experts to work out the right strategy & solution for your brand. Share your queries at sales@geipl.com, or call us at +91-124-403-6307/08, 7428100866, 1800 102 0170 (Toll-free).

Author: Shakti Jain
Date of Creation: 1st January 2020

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