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3 Advantages of an RFID Magical User Interface for Supply Chain Management

Radiofrequency technology - Advantages of an RFID Magical User Interface for Supply Chain Management

By simply picking your inventory components, swiping the powerful RFID smart label at the checkout station, and going back to work, you will automatically record useful inventory consumption data in real time. It’s that simple to manage complex supply chains using a magical user interface. Along with simplicity, there are some other advantages to using RFID technology to manage your inventory digitally.

Traditional vendor managed inventory systems use bar codes to track products. Parts are placed in bags in pre-determined quantities—similar to what you would find in a hardware store. Each piece has a bar code, but for industrial manufacturers, it’s not practical for a consumer to scan 500 barcodes per day.

Effective digital vendor managed inventory (VMI) platforms must have a magical user interface, like RFID technology, to tap into the granular consumption data. The user can grab a bag of 500 pieces along with 100 other various pieces and toss them all into a tub. When placed on the scanning table, one RFID scan calculates the entire inventory of all the pieces in the tub in seconds. The speed that RFID smart label technology provides also includes extremely accurate data.

A magical interface like RFID smart labels eliminates the need for screens, keyboards, and handheld or peripheral devices—all of which most manufacturing floor operators find inconvenient and obtrusive.

There are three key advantages to using RFID technology to manage complex supply chains.

1. RFID Technology Allows for a Simple Inventory Checkout Process

When busy operators need parts, it’s important to keep the process moving efficiently. If the process to grab the required parts takes more than 30 seconds, it can cost valuable uptime. If the process involves multiple devices or multiple steps, inventory management becomes chaotic and inaccurate.

Inventory management is rarely at the forefront of the minds of the operators tasked with keeping things running smoothly and profitably. The ShelfAware platform includes a checkout process that is as simple as “Pick, Swipe, and Go.” The system takes care of the rest.

Radiofrequency technology is magical in the sense that it can reach out over a long distance and in just a few seconds it grabs massive amounts of information. It scans through substrates like boxes, plastic totes, wood shelving, and even through walls.

The magic of RFID works with the ShelfAware checkout table to provide a small footprint (2’x2’). The table is simple to install and is operating within seconds. Just plug it into power and the internet. There is no mouse, keyboard, or screen—just a flashing light that changes colors when the parts are swiped. In seconds, the light changes colors and the operator can go back to work.

2. RFID Triggers Delivery of Documentation for Traceability

Fundamentally, an effective digital VMI builds on a complex and granular data foundation—automating the supply chain by tracking package quantities.

A robust platform like ShelfAware has the ability to push documentation material certifications, batch and lock control, heat numbers, CAD drawings, 3D print assembly instructions, etc. The system can push documentation digitally to an email address, and then directly to an assembler’s computer screen through an ERP system.

By leveraging an RFID scan of a physical part to trigger the associated documentation, a material batch code and reference documentation can be sent directly to a quality control manager, for example. That documentation can then be tied directly to an assembly station.

3. RFID Technology Delivers Instant Inventory Audits

Audits are a necessary evil of any inventory management system. Because many supply chains are complex, there are thousands of SKUs. In some cases, there are hundreds of thousands of square feet of actual physical inventory. In some scenarios, the inventory is wide-open with hundreds of users across multiple shifts interacting with the inventory. This can cause discrepancies in the data when managed traditionally.

With RFID smart labels attached to every inventory item, supplier sales representatives can perform accurate inventory audits at any time. Leveraging RFID technology allows for customization and accurate audits of complex supply chains in minutes.

How To Get Started With a Supply Chain Automation?

Implementing ShelfAware’s robust platform is often complex but does not need to be slow. It begins with a group conversation involving a mix of finance, operations and IT professionals. A site audit (often multiple sites) is usually required before a proposal can be made.

Final proposals usually involve a formal stocking agreement, installation fee, and a product pricing quote. Onboarding consumers varies widely, but the minimum time required to convert a supply chain in most markets is about three months.

Want to learn more about an affordable way to automate your supply chain? Request your free ShelfAware demo 

Too good to be true?  ShelfAware is redefining the vendor-managed inventory industry. For this reason, we’re happy to talk to you about how our intelligent inventory platform can benefit your business. Contact us today for more information.


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