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Issue of April 2005 
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RFID for the supply chain

Ravi Kathuria, Director Marketing - SSA Global, India, talks about how the use of RFID technology benefits supply chains.

How does the use of RFID help optimise a supply chain?

RFID can automate inventory handling, reducing the labour required. It can also facilitate the flow and exchange of data from point of production to point of consumption. It gives the status in real-time and provides visibility, resulting in reduced inventories, improved service levels, lowered wastage, and improved safety and security.

Can you explain how the technology will function?

With microchips embedded in various types of media, companies can track any kind of goods that has an RFID tag attached to it, regardless of whether that product is in the product lifecycle or in the supply chain.

Such a chip usually contains a serial number identifying a tagged entity, and has an antenna that reflects radio waves back to an RFID reader. The reader converts the reflected radio waves to digitised information that is fed to computers for further processing.

Is the RFID more intelligent than bar coding?

RFID goes beyond the barcode technology by bringing greater intelligence and productivity to the supply chain. It is an 'always-on', pervasive technology that allows supply chain partners to gain visibility regarding where their products are in the supply chain.

Unlike barcode readers, which can only read one tag at a time, RFID can read multiple tags automatically at the same time, which in turn improves productivity by eliminating manual scanning.

- Soutiman Das Gupta

 
     
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Indian Express - Business Publications Division

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