At the moment, IoT technology is becoming more and more mature, and major logistics companies are actively trying and have successfully applied RFID in more aspects of their logistics supply chain, including parcel tracking, real-time data collection, RFID warehouse management, smart logistics, etc., in order to achieve real-time monitoring of the whole process, improve the transparency and automation of the supply chain, and further enhance their logistics capacity and customer service levels.
Specific applications of RFID in logistics
Automation and information technology are the mainstream trends in the logistics and express industry. By attaching RFID tags to cargo, cargo information is automatically collected and recorded throughout the process, starting from pick-up. The pick-up operator can easily scan the goods and collect cargo information through the read-write device.
When the goods arrive at the logistics transit centre, they are temporarily stored in the transit warehouse. At this point, the system automatically allocates the storage area of the goods according to the information collected by RFID, down to the physical compartment of the shelf. Each physical shelf is fitted with an RFID tag, and the RFID device automatically identifies the goods and feeds back to the system to confirm that the correct goods have been placed in the correct area, thus ensuring accuracy.
By attaching RFID tags to the delivery vehicles, each shipment is tied to the corresponding delivery vehicle. When the goods are removed from the shelves, the system sends the delivery vehicle information to the picker, ensuring that the correct goods are allocated to the correct vehicle.
1. RFID in logistics picking
Before the picking operation begins, the picking information is first processed. The picking information is formed based on the picking order output from the order processing system, and the sorting machine is used to automatically sort the parcels to improve sorting accuracy.
The relevant goods and sorting information is fed into the automatic control system through the information input device of the automatic sorting machine. The automatic sorting system uses a computer control centre to automate the processing of the goods and sorting information and form data instructions to the sorting operation machine.
The sorting machine uses automatic identification devices such as UHF radio frequency identification technology to automatically sort and pick goods. The goods are moved by the conveyor system to the sorting system when they are moved to the conveyor through the transfer device, and then the sorting lane discharge device pushes the express goods out of the sorting machine according to pre-set sorting requirements to complete the sorting operation.
2. RFID in the application of goods delivery
Each delivery vehicle is equipped with a physical shelf inside, and RFID tags are deployed on each shelf. Once the goods are placed on the correct shelf, the system automatically captures the goods' data to ensure it is correct again.
The integration of RFID into delivery trucks allows for faster goods handling. Real-time visibility of cargo information ensures that goods are dispatched accurately, bringing a significant improvement in on-time delivery. In addition, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are saved.
3. RFID in transport management
In addition to basic business process processing, RFID can also be used for the management of operational vehicles. Courier companies often want to be able to track the operational trucks leaving and entering their logistics centres every day for security reasons.
Each operating vehicle is equipped with RFID tags, and when the vehicle passes through the exit and entrance, the centre can automatically monitor the entry and exit of the vehicle through the RFID read-write equipment and cameras installed. At the same time, the process of manual sign-out and sign-in by drivers is greatly simplified.
Recently, UPS, the largest logistics company in the US, has announced plans to deploy RFID technology in 100 shipping centres to improve productivity and save costs. The plan will reportedly eliminate 20 million manual scans and allow UPS to achieve $500 million in non-operational cost savings.
Logistics companies see the need to make their supply chains more predictable for future trends, with huge end-to-end data collection and forecasting and planning. They need to address the current challenges of labour resource shortages and other challenges facing the logistics supply chain. As the major logistics press put it, "supply chains must be flexible enough to deal with any major or minor market shifts that come along the logistics route."
Above we can see three trends in the future of supply chain technology from the current focus of logistics companies.
Real-time data enabling more powerful AI and automation performance
The implementation of artificial intelligence for predictive and prescriptive analytics in logistics will continue to accelerate and will have a broad impact on every end of the supply chain. Logistics companies with big data and automation capabilities will give companies a competitive advantage in terms of visibility, execution efficiency, quality and profitability, with companies able to predict demand and improve future accuracy and operational efficiency.
The implementation of artificial intelligence is driving automation even further. As supply chain experts point out, the ability to access vast amounts of data from past operations allows AI to automate certain functions, providing more opportunities for efficiency and accuracy.
Shifting the entire supply chain to the IoT side
One of the most significant features of the IoT is the ability to track assets and products through the entire supply chain, from the factory to the warehouse to the shop. According to the press, "It allows the entire company to increase efficiency, minimize downtime, proactively respond to customer demand and improve overall ROI."
Fast supply chain management
According to supply and demand chain experts, "When one part of the network is at risk, all parts are vulnerable. Being able to combine supply chain resilience with risk prevention will enable companies to mitigate adverse events, capture market share and outperform competitors faster than they can."
SEIKO RFID TECHNOLOGY LTD.
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