Introduction of science and technology, radio frequency identification (RFID)

Introduction

A supply chain involved of all the
individuals, organizations, resources, activities and technology involved in
the creation and sale of a product, from the delivery of source materials from
the supplier to the manufacturer, through to it eventual delivery to the end
user. Supply chain is the managing process for the movement of parts, raw
materials or finished products from supplies that goes into manufacturing
process then deliver to customers (Yeo and Ning, 2002). Nowadays, much industry
is not only focus on product differentiation but them. This is because the
performance of supply chain will affect the ability of company to meet
customers’ demand and increase customer satisfaction (Hsu, 2005). Moreover,
technology plays an important role currently in order to help companies in
better and more efficient in managing the supply chain.

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Radio
frequency identification (RFID)

RFID has been presented as one possible key
technology in building more effective grocery supply chains (Rizzotto and
Wolfram, 2002). Radio frequency identification
(RFID) technology has existed for decades. With the development of science and
technology, radio frequency identification (RFID) technology has developed from
obscurity to mainstream applications that help expedite the processing of finished
products and materials. Radio Frequency Identification, also known as RFID is a
common technology and has become one of the most discussed technologies in today’s
market (Ropraz, 2008).  Nowadays, RFID
has a high level of awareness in the United States, Asia, and Europe. There are
many companies had adapted RFID technology in order to implement their supply
chain such as Wal-Mart, P&G, GAP, Gillette and so on . For instance, Wal-Mart
replaced the scanners and bar coding with RFID reader and tag to reduce labour
cost and efficiency tracking in supply chain whereas P&G use this
technology to track the products in production line and store shelves.

RFID are acronyms are small electronic
devices that consist of small chips and antennas. Besides, RFID is a technology
that allows huge amount of information store in the chips so that it can be
read by the readers within the available distance without direct line of sight
scanning (Wisner, Tan and Leong, 2014). The function of RFID technology is similar as a bar code but
RFID is definitely worked better than barcode. For an example, barcode require
line of sight in order to proceed, scanner must “see” the barcode to read
the information, which means that people often have to turn the barcode toward
the scanner for reading while RFID technology doesn’t require line of sight?as
long as they are within the read range RFID system can identify many different
tags without human assistance.
Moreover, RFID can read multiple labels at the same time while barcodes can
only read tag one by one manually.
RFID is able to identify and manage the flow of products information
efficiently by reducing the human error and it is smarter than the barcode we
use today.

 

How
does RFID work

RFID system comprise of four elements
which are tag, reader, RFID middleware and communication network. First, the tag
formed by chip that connect with antenna and it can be attached on the items,
box (hold many items inside) or pallet (hold many boxes inside). Second, a
reader that give out the radio signal and receive the information from tag.
Third, the RFID middleware receive the information from reader and process it
into database or enterprise application.

·      
Tags

There are different types of tags which
are active, semi-passive (two-way) and passive (Nash, 2010). Passive tags are
the tags that do not have source of power but they are powered by
electromagnetic radio waves which is sent out by the reader. The price of this
tag is cheapest as it does not has own power source while the reliability and range
is lower than active tags as the distance for tracking is up to 20 feet only. Active
tags are the tags that have own power source as they do not depend on the power
of reader. Therefore, active tags have better range and reliability but the
price is more expensive. Semi-passive tags are the tags have own battery source
of power but it relies on reader to supply power for broadcasting the radio
waves. The tracking distance for active tag and semi-passive tag is up to one
hundred feet.

Tags can use for once or several times
which depends on the situation. For one time use, it is when customers purchase
the single item and throw it away with the packaging whereas the tags used for
several times when it is attached on reusable pallet to hold multiple products
for shipping purpose.

·      
Readers

The main types of readers are fixed
reader and hand-held (Wisner etc, 2014). Hand-held readers need to read the
data in close distance but it is mobile. The fixed reader is installed at main
gates for the purpose of identifying the vehicles, people or goods. Another
type of reader is shelf reader which it is fixed and position on the shelf and
transmit the inventory information.

·      
RFID
software

The first layer of this software is
device management while second layer is data acquisition for receiving the data
from readers. The third layer is to have action on the data receive because the
data will diminish quickly. The fourth layer is to interface which to connect
with other network for sharing the data received.

Benefits
of RFID

RFID offers numbers of benefits to
company or supply chain which consists of inventory tracking, read several tags
simultaneously, improve supply chain communication, labour reduction and
security.

i.                
Labour reduction

RFID technology caused labour reductions due to RFID
able to provide inventory tracking and management, supply
chain automation. Employees are not necessary to be employed
because all the processes are in automation.
There are also some researcher predicted
that using RFID technology, receiving check-in time can be shortened by 60-93%.
At the same time, others estimate that RFID can save up to 36% of orders, while
in the transport process can save 90% of the cost of verification.

 

ii.              
Inventory tracking and
management

The business era
nowadays pay more and more attention to delivery speed and supply chain effectiveness.
RFID improves the inventory tracking and management by provides accurate and
real-time information about stock quantity and movement. For instance, shipping
company may face the problem of tracking the container as it is transported
globally. For retailing, the tracking process for inventory is from shelf to
point of sale and when the items are returned. Besides, RFID’s non-line-of-sight
also help the whole process go smoothly and effectively. RFID does allow
huge quantities of information to be kept in the microchips which can be read
by using the RFID readers at a distance, without scanning in a direct line of sight
(Nash, 2010). It enable the readers
detect the tags in milliseconds and scan several times simultaneously.

 

 

iii.            
Improve supply chain
communication and partnership

Supply chain requires
collaborative efforts among the companies involve so the communication is
important. Improve supply chain communication and partnership. RFID improved
the communication as it allows the information sharing between partners so that
they are able to know the inventory level and the demand. These eliminate the
stock out as RFID deliver information that allow the product ship at the right
place and right time. This improves the process and supply chain management.