New research says radio frequency identification tags can help companies achieve greater order accuracy than bar-code scanning.
While talk of radio frequency identification has lately been drowned out by the attention being paid to other emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and blockchain, researchers have been quietly building the business case for the 14-year-old auto-identification technology.
A new study from the Auburn University RFID Lab and the industry association GS1 US found that brand owners and retailers using electronic product code (EPC)-enabled radio frequency identification (RFID) for inventory management and product shipments are capable of achieving 99.9 percent order accuracy.
When RFID was not implemented, the study found that 69 percent of orders shipped and received from brands to their retailer partners contained data errors. These errors were revealed in picking, shipping, and receiving, resulting in inventory inaccuracies and costly chargebacks from the retailers to the brand owners. Additionally, the research exposed that brands and retailers generally accept these process errors and attempt “workarounds,” which often result in additional errors and costs.
“This study should cause retail industry stakeholders to consider the immediate positive impact item-level RFID can have on supply chain efficiency,” said Bill Hardgrave, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, Auburn University, in a statement. “Retailers and brands have a tremendous opportunity to eliminate errors, as the lack of inventory accuracy is a preventable problem that can be solved with greater automation through RFID.”