Timely reception of data is one of the crucial requirements for any business venture. By keeping a close eye on intellectual properties, products, and even staff – organisation leaders can stay on top of operations and react within a timely manner before issues or problems arise.
In the storage side of things, the traditional method of keeping tabs in warehouses relies heavily on human staff, often resulting in errors on top of an abundance in inefficiency. Recently, an excellent solution has arrived in the form of real-time location tracking, which has been realised with the aid of technology.
As a concept that found its commercial beginnings in the 1990s, real-time location systems (RTLS) have now come a long way since and are now used in most business sectors. Today, one such technology that enables this highly important advantage is RFID.
Discover how RFID has advanced to the point of providing RTLS capabilities and how this can improve warehouse management.
What RTLS is and how it works
Real-time location systems, as stated in the name, comprise a set of technologies, both hardware and software, that enables an indoor positioning network capable of relaying real-time data of an asset, of its location.
This system incorporates a mesh of readers strategically placed within the environment to receive all signals from assets equipped with “beacons”. The signals sent by these beacons include positioning data and other vital information such as its unique serial number, for instance.
The basics of RFID RTLS
RFID is a technology that comprises two components – a tag and a reader. These tags can be divided into passive and active tags. Both types have their uses, be it in advanced RFID asset tracking systems or security protocols. For this article, we’ll focus more on active RFID tags.
The main difference between passive and active RFID tags is in their implementation. Passive tags contain no power source of their own, and thus may not provide the required tracking capabilities required. On the other hand, active tags contain their own internal power sources, lasting roughly three to five years, and can emit data signals that RFID readers can pick up.
How RTLS changes warehouses for the better
Up-to-date real time data is the key to success when it comes to maximising overall value in company warehouses. By removing the guessing game entirely out of the business decision-making equation, it provides a positive impact allowing management strategic thinking.
Here are a few significant improvements that RTLS can provide when it comes to the warehouse:
Up-to-date information on drivers and their cargo allows managers to instantly monitor when, where, and how time is lost. If inefficiencies are spotted, improvements can immediately be planned, implemented, tested, and deployed. The availability of real-time data from RFID allows drivers to reduce the time it takes to search for their cargoes and their locations.
Enhanced accuracy of inventory records
Maintaining accurate inventory records is crucial to prevent both overstocking and understocking. With RTLS and an RFID inventory management system in place, one gains a real-time view of inventory, achieves and maintains near-perfect accuracy of inventory count and management, this avoids expensive and time-consuming inventory audits.
Optimised labour management
If effectively implemented, RTLS can deliver immense cost and time savings by enhancing a warehouse fleet’s journey routes and processes. As the data that RTLS provides is accurate and precise, its benefits will reflect in a positive ROI.
The lack of data on the warehouse floor can breed inefficiency and result in losses both in operations and its management. RTLS brings much-needed improvements in this area by correcting these inefficiencies, optimising labour and staff, is certain to improve processes as time passes as RFID technology keeps evolving.