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10 Reasons Why RFID Technology is Better than Barcodes

10 Reasons Why RFID Technology is Better than Barcodes

Scanning individual parts is inconvenient when managing complex supply chains. Barcode scanners require a line of site for each individual piece while radio frequency identification (RFID) scanners can read multiple codes at once. That is one reason why RFID technology is a much smarter and more efficient choice for streamlining supply chain operations. Many people confuse the more sophisticated RFID technology with barcodes, so let’s set the record straight and describe the clear differences between the two types of inventory labeling systems.

Manufacturing companies, suppliers, and consumers are actively searching for inventory and process tracking technologies to solve ongoing supply chain and inventory management challenges.

Barcodes are commonly confused with RFID smart labels, but there are clear differences between the two. This article will describe both technologies and then present 10 reasons why RFID is the more efficient, smarter choice for industrial suppliers and consumers.

RFID vs Barcodes: What’s the Difference?

RFID technology uses radio waves to transmit information from RFID tags to an RFID reader. The tags contain a sensor that enables the data transmission. Each sensor typically contains unique identifiers, and a reader can simultaneously scan more than 100 tags instantly without requiring line-of-sight visibility. That makes it easy to automate some processes that might otherwise require additional time and resources and is prone to human error.

Barcode scanning requires a beam of light to read the black and white lines of a printed barcode label. The scanner has a sensor that creates a signal from the reflected light. A decoder then translates the signal into text and transmits the data to a computer or database. Barcode scanners must have a line of sight and must “see” each barcode one at a time in order to capture the data.

Which is Better? RFID or Barcodes?

  • Barcodes and RFID have many similarities including:
  • Barcodes and RFID tags allow you to track objects with ease.
  • Both can store data which can be easily read.
  • You can read information using both fixed or mobile scanners.
  • Barcodes and RFID tags are regularly used to track objects through stored information.
  • Both technologies allow for a wide range of applications.

When deciding between barcodes and RFID technology for inventory management, it’s important to note that barcodes are less expensive to produce. However, they also store less information and are more time-consuming to scan. Here are some more reasons why RFID smart labels make more sense for manufacturers managing their complex supply chains.

  1. Efficiency – Hundreds of pieces can be scanned in a second using RFID technology, while all barcodes must be scanned individually.
  2. Functionality – RFID allows for accurate scanning in adverse conditions. It uses near-field technology and does not require a printed surface. Barcodes require line of sight and individual scanning. All RFID tags within range can be detected instantly and matched with information in your database.
  3. Accuracy – RFID technology automates data collection and vastly reduces human effort and error.
  4. Durability – RFID labels can handle exposure to sun, rain, and other elements. Barcodes can be easily damaged or marked during transportation, hindering the accuracy of the reading. RFID data is stored as binary on the chip, which can be read and translated quickly and accurately.
  5. Security – RFID allows for greater security than barcodes.
  6. Detailed Referencing – Assets can be cross-referenced against assigned locations and recorded as present, missing, or relocated with RFID technology.
  7. Data Collection & Storage – Barcodes are limited by the type and volume of data that can be stored, while RFID allows for up to 2,000 bytes of data to be stored within a single tag.
  8. Versatility – RFID can be integrated with active scanning and fixed readers for a totally automated tracking solution.
  9. Flexibility – Assets and employees can be tracked and located automatically for everything from supply chain and asset management to facility security and emergency planning.
  10. Magical User Interface – RFID technology provides a magical user interface.

How RFID Technology Provides a Magical User Interface

A magical user 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.

Traditional vendor managed inventory systems use barcodes to track products, but this system is outdated. It’s not practical for a consumer to scan hundreds of barcodes per day, and the data collected is limited.

With a magical user interface, like RFID technology, the user can collect a bag of 500 pieces along with 100 other various pieces in 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.

How to Get Started With a Robust Digital VMI? 

Vendor Managed Inventory Work

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.

More articles about using a digital vendor managed inventory system to solve your supply chain challenges:

Common Mistakes Manufacturers Make When Automating Inventory Management

3 Must-Have Features of Effective Digital VMI

How Manufacturers Can Automate Inventory Management Quickly, Effectively, and Inexpensively

How Automation Solves America’s Broken Supply Chain

How Supply Chain Automation Gives Your Company a Competitive Edge

Everything You Need to Know About Digital Vendor Managed Inventory

Why Cloud SourcingTM is a Game Changer for Digital VMI Systems

How Energy Manufacturing Tackled Inventory Challenges with an Affordable, Easy-to-Use Supply Chain Solution

What Kinds of Manufacturing Businesses Can Benefit from Inventory Management Software?

Top 10 Advantages of RFID Inventory Tracking

7 Ways to Save Time and Money with an RFID Inventory Management System

How Automation Improves Manufacturing Operational Efficiency



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