Real-time visibility has been steadily increasing in popularity due to new customer demands such as reliable product traceability and faster order fulfillment. While increased visibility empowers operations to meet more demands with less labor, modernized RFID systems can be disruptive if the workforce is not prepared to integrate such a big change. Zebra’s Warehouse Maturity Model outlines five distinct stages warehouses can find themselves in when assessing modernization capabilities.

As workflows become ever more automated and connected, RFID-powered visibility becomes more feasible and beneficial. For example, switching from paper-based inventory counts to real-time in-motion tracking will be more disruptive than simply integrating hands-free scanning. Therefore, before committing to real-time locationining implementation, businesses should make sure they evaluate the following characteristics.

  1. Automated data capture is already in place. RFID scanning takes automated data capture a step farther by capturing multiple codes at once without line of sight, which means barcode scanning may already be in place. Reduced paper-based systems will also eliminate longer workflows, freeing up the workforce to do more in less time.
  2. Mobile access to inventory management systems is available. To truly optimize data collection, automated systems should digitally connect to your WMS, thus avoiding manual reporting. By streamlining data capture and computing within an RFID mobile device, inventory counts can be updated in real-time, acclimating the workforce to deal with and maintain real-time visibility within fast-paced operations.
  3. The workforce is onboard with modernization initiatives. As with any optimization solution, training will be a future requirement. Highly disruptive systems can harm more than help operations if the workforce struggles to adopt them. User-friendly interfaces such as Android for Enterprise can help minimize onboarding complications by providing users with a familiar platform within modernized systems such as real-time locationing.
  4. Stages in the supply chain are communicating more often. The now-economy has developed more intricate supply chains, where every step is deeply interconnected with each other. That means that when there is a breakdown in the manufacturing plant, then the warehousing, distribution, field services, and even retail storefronts can all be affected. Greater data accessibility across stages can help provide actionable insight to different departments, ultimately preventing delays and misshipments.
  5. Inventory moves faster from receiving to shipping. E-commerce alone has bolstered inventory speed as online shoppers can deplete stock within a matter of hours depending on demand. If stock is moving out of the warehouse at an alarming pace, real-time visibility may be beneficial to pinpoint demand, set up threshold stock values, and quickly verify orders before they leave the loading dock.


How to start optimizing with RFID?

No two operations are the same, which is why CMAC recommends…

  1. Starting with an in-depth assessment of your workflows and goals. This allows RFID specialists to work alongside your teams to identify optimization opportunities such as faster data capture, in-motion tracking, remote asset management, and dock verification.
  2. Building a scalable solution with enterprise-grade technologies. Partnering with leading RFID manufacturers such as Zebra Technologies, CMAC assists you in selecting durable and easy-to-use RFID technologies that adapt to your workforce without compromising productivity. From fixed RFID readers to customized passive tags, Zebra’s RFID technologies are crafted to maximize scanning and tracking capacity while fitting into current workflows for minimal disruption and maximum adaptability.
  3. Testing RFID solution alongside RFID specialists. Adjustments beyond the pilot phase may be required to incorporate the whole workforce. By having a readily available team of specialists nearby, operations can seamlessly integrate changes and train the workforce without wasting time.

Check out our Zebra RFID portfolio here.

Take the first step towards modernization by reaching out to our RFID specialists for a free assessment of your operations and see how you can start implementing enhanced visibility in your operations without disrupting efficiency.