Logistics companies have used NAV barcoding technology for many years, to increase their understanding of the supply chain and how quickly materials come and go in their warehouses. However, given the rate at which technology is changing the industry as a whole, it's becoming more important for businesses to make sure they're folding those old-school tracking efforts into their plans for the future. Doing so can increase the efficiency and reliability of the data employees and executives access.
The emergence of the internet of things has been a boon for logistics firms worldwide, because it gives them the ability to quickly and easily get a bird's-eye view of every aspect of existing inventory, as well as related information that can inform ongoing decisions, according to Mark Thomson, retail and hospitality director at Zebra Technologies, writing for IT Pro Portal. Even companies that have yet to update their item tracking software to newer technology like RFID tagging can benefit from IoT scanning simply because it puts more power in employees' when they either re-stock shelves or pick items they need to fulfill an incoming order.
A massive change is coming
Over the next several years, the vast majority of companies – whether they operate in logistics or have warehouses as a part of their larger operations – will look to update how they track items throughout these facilities and otherwise operate as a method of boosting efficiency. Specifically, that means an increased focus on visibility through RFID tagging or barcoding and the use of predictive analytics to streamline the ordering process.
One area of investment in regard to tracking items throughout a warehouse comes from the use of RFID technology, because in the near future it may not be enough to utilize that technology to simply scan packages in and out, according to Essential Retail. Instead, logistics firms may soon come to rely on centrally located RFID readers that can visualize the exact location of any tagged item within its range, taking tracking from a passive feature to an active one. That kind of technology can increase visibility significantly and supply operating efficiency along for the ride.
How accurate is it?
The ability of any worker or executive to quickly and easily locate items in a warehouse using inventory management software brings with it tremendous power to fulfill orders with greater efficiency. However, where emerging systems differentiate themselves is by telling workers where those items are with tremendous accuracy, down to just a few feet, according to Freight Waves. And the good news for logistics companies is that as this technology proliferates, it also becomes more affordable. Even smaller companies can benefit from the efficiency trend in tracking. Further, this tech largely does not rely on GPS, but rather the RFID chips that are already in many warehouses.
Of course, even with this promise of greater efficiency, warehouse executives need to carefully assess their companies' requirements and current readiness for such a transition. While most have been able to eschew more traditional methods of the physical inventory count, the ability to take the next step in this evolution as smoothly as possible will help ensure the best path to adoption.