Management allows businesses to control the flow and placement of
products and raw materials into and out of warehouses, storage depots,
and other facilities.
RFID technology may help in picking operations, replenishment tasks,
and storage of items. RFID may enhance the ability of warehouse
managers to coordinate and direct sequential tasks and to tie-in
with "back end" systems, such as purchasing, finance,
The basic strength of RFID in a warehouse environment is that it
allows managers to know precise locations of items, as well as information
about the item, such as date and time of manufacture, quantity,
unit of measure, etc. That makes it easier for managers and workers
to find items for shipment, or to place similar items in adjacent
areas, or even to place items so older inventory is moved out first.
RFID may also allow more efficient picking operations, reducing
errors and cutting processing costs associated with errors.
RFID-enhanced operations may allow managers to more accurately
track inventory, more efficiently allocate labor for warehouse operations,
accurately track used and unused storage capacity, improve customer
service by providing real-time location and status of customer orders,
and reduce "cycle counts" - the time it takes to count
items in a warehouse on a regualr and recurring basis.
RFID operations may reduce the labor and time associated with tracking
products' locations, because there is reduced need to physically
scan each and every item. In normal barcode operations, for example,
a worker usually has to physically scan each and every carton, using
a hand-held scanner which requires at least a "line of sight"
angle for scanning the barcode. RFID tags can be read at a greater
distance, and usually do not require a specific orientation to a
reader to get a full read. In many instances, an RFID-tagged pallet
or carton passing through a "portal" or within range of
an RFID antenna will allow full collection of data - with little
or no human intervention.
RFID operations may also allow more fully automated integration
with material handling machinery, such as carousels, conveyors,
or specialized packing machinery. By sensing an RFID tag as it passes
along a conveyor, the system may automatically route it to the appropriate
packing machine, for example to a cardboard box packing machine
versus a shrink wrap packer, depending on the tag's contents.
RFID may also aid in materials handling, (receiving and sending
operations). The RFID information may be used to locate appropriate
items for shipping, routing it through applicable packaging machinery
or operations, and sending it to the appropriate loading dock, for
example, for shipping out on the waiting truck. Receiving operations
can also be enhanced through accurate routing of materials to appropriate
receiving points, sometimes using "just in time" delivery
methods to enhance productivity and reduce storage.
Excellent Warehouse Management Resources:
Dave Piasecki's InventoryOps.com Site (http://www.inventoryops.com/warehouse_management_systems.htm)