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this document describes the uses of RFID in business inventory tracking system
  Why are radio frequency identification (RFID) and wireless sensor networks valuable for business? 1. What is RFID and Wireless sensor network? RFID, short for Radio Frequency Identification and wireless sensor network are rapidly evolving technology that can dramatically improve operational efficiencies and customer service. They will fundamentally transform the way information about products, equipment, animals and even people is gathered and analysed in real time, providing new business opportunities. Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a data collection system based on tiny microchips attached to a box, pallet or individual item that communicate with other devices using radio waves. Device readers capture data from the tags and, in some cases, write to them as well. Software then collects, organizes and distributes the data. The combination of these chips, sensors and software technology vastly improves supply chain operations and is increasingly  providing substantial business benefits in other venues. Wal-Mart Stores, the U.S. Department of Defence, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Union and other companies or government agencies are adopting the RFID technologies in their business operational role. However, these systems are doing much more than just improving the supply chain operations of manufacturers and retailers or enabling regulatory compliance. 2. Business Operational Scenarios of RFID Based on the experience of manufacturers, health care providers, retailers and others that have pioneered the use of RFID, here are a selection of operational scenarios where RFID can deliver value in a short time: The manufacturing floor:  RFID can help track work-in-process and provide predictive analytics and an early warning of pending system failure. It also can be used to track reusable assets such as rolling cages, pallets, racks and ingredient vessels. Distribution centres:  RFID can impact both sending and receiving of goods. Automating receiving reduces the amount of labour needed to manually check-in incoming items as well as the time and energy spent resolving proof of delivery issues. RFID can also confirm that  outgoing shipments are accurate, complete and loaded on the correct truck. Because RFID tracks the movement of goods/assets within a facility and beyond it also can help combat theft and shrinkage. Shipping:  With products in transit, RFID can help protect against theft, diversion and tampering. When combined with environmental sensors to monitor ambient conditions like temperature, light, humidity, radiation, shock and vibration, the technology can also provide a warning if environmental parameters are exceeded and help pinpoint the time/place where the  problem occurred. With a record of product movement, RFID can support e-pedigree record keeping that documents the movement of products like pharmaceuticals through the supply chain, thereby helping authenticate product and identify counterfeit goods. Documenting  product movement makes it easier to resolve discrepancies between what a vendor ships and what a customer receives, thus providing a powerful deductions management tool and  preventing fines for late or incomplete shipments. Retail supply chain: RFID can provide the visibility needed to prevent out-of-stock situations throughout the supply chain, but particularly in the critical geography between the store’s loading dock and its stock room. The system will be able to identify the location of goods outside of the stock room and can help p revent “lost” goods which were really just misplaced. The technology can support promotions management, ensuring product is delivered in a timely manner and moves to the sales floor to meet demand. Vendor-managed inventory:  The improved visibility RFID provides into product movement gives vendors the information they need to automatically replenish fast-moving items or take steps to boost sales of slow-moving product. Animal tracking:  RFID tags are commonly implanted into household pets so they can be identified if they are lost. Livestock also is being tagged to provide the ability to track an animal from birth to the consumer’s table. This capability has taken on new importance due to rising concerns about mad cow disease or other ailments. Smart shelves and cabinets:  RFID opens the door to smart items that can communicate with other systems and generate alerts to problems. For example, a smart shelf on a sales floor can  provide an alert when it’s time to restock or of a potential shoplifting situation i f an unusual number of products are removed simultaneously. In hospital settings, an RFID-equipped drug cabinet can provide better control of access and inventory and provide alerts when supplies run low.  “Smart” appliances: An RFID-equipped microwave oven could communicate with the  package and set itself up to cook/warm the food at optimal settings. RFID-enabling a medicine cabinet could provide the patient with alerts about when to take a medication, calculate when it’s time to order a refill and analyse whether a new prescription will pose an interaction problem with existing medications. Examples of the implementation of RFID include: Logistics & Tracking Real Time Item Location/ Item Visibility & Status Anti-Theft/Tamper evidence Authentication Asset Tracking Hospital Equipment Laundry & Library systems Reusable Assets Personal Identification Access Control Animal Tagging Car Immobilisers Payment Systems Road Toll Electronic Tickets Mass Transit Ticketing Workflow Processes Service/Maintenance Records Remote Management Mobile Data Healthcare Patient Operations Drug Trials & Clinical Testing  3. Benefits of RFID By analysing current practices and procedures RFID technology offers several advantages over manual methods or other automatic identification technologies such as bar coding,  businesses in many industries hope to gain many new benefits. These include realizing greater control over inventory, gathering more accurate production forecasting, reducing losses from counterfeiting and theft and achieving more timely order fulfilment. Some important benefits that make the RFID more valuable in business are as follows: Improved Productivity and Cost Avoidance: Identifying items by RFID involves less work than using barcode scanning and other less automated ways. This leads to greater process effectiveness in many tasks such as receiving and putting away, picking and shipping goods where the time required and cost of identifying items by RFID is substantially less than other methods. Decreased Cycle Time and Taking Costs Out: RFID scanning is not a serial process, like traditional Barcode scanning, so the business can perform identical tasks much more quickly. This means processes moving goods through a supply chain are more efficient leading to a reduction in the need for larger inventories. Reduced Rework:  As RFID scanning has a greater first time pass accuracy this reduces the number of errors that are generated and retries needed. Reduced Business Risk & Control of Assets: RFID tagging enables better audit and asset control. The ability to track and trace items better means assets can be located more easily. The opportunity for enhanced data collection leads to increased accuracy of record keeping and improved asset maintenance. Regulatory compliance can be achieved more effectively. Improved Security and Service: Being able to validate information relating to an item enables increased security. This individual identification contributes to more effective access control, reductions in shrinkage and other losses and the ability to provide fast and efficient services at the point of need. Ability to authenticate information can prevent activities like counterfeiting and fraud. Improved Utilisation of Resources: Information obtained by RFID scanning can be used to improve planning. Processes can be improved, time can be saved, assets can be utilised  better.
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