When it comes to making sure everything on the factory floor is running as efficiently as possible, there are a lot of options for manufacturers to adopt. One type of option that has gained a lot of steam in recent years is using RFID chips or barcodes to keep better track of materials coming in and products going out. And while use of these methods are great for those intent on increasing physical inventory efficiency, some experts believe more can be done by the manufacturing sector in general to boost production and efficiency.

Indeed, many manufacturers and businesses in several other industries are now starting to adopt either barcoding or RFID use en masse, according to a recent examination of the field by analysts at  Technavio. From this year through the end of 2020, it's expected that global RFID antenna use will grow by nearly 13 percent annually, on average. This trend is likely to be the most prevalent in the U.S., as it was in 2015, and it won't just be manufacturers getting in on the action. Retailers will also be big adopters for the same reason: It's a great way to keep careful tabs on inventory.

"In omnichannel retailing, retailers require real-time information about the products and goods inbound to the customer without any inconsistencies," says Sunil Kumar Singh, a lead analyst at Technavio for research on embedded systems. "Retailers also need accurate inventory tracking information to make better decisions and avoid out-of-stock situations by improving the distribution process."

Barcode use likely to increase as well
Meanwhile, companies are also relying on the slightly less high-tech option of barcodes for a similar reason, according to Transparency Market Research. And here, too, it's not just manufacturers getting in on the adoption trend. Everyone from retailers to hospitals use these options with increasing frequency because of the benefits they can bring in terms of saving time, effort and money.

Why are companies acting now?
The benefit of barcode and RFID technology is simple enough to explain: It helps retailers, manufacturers and even health care providers keep better track of what needs to be done, what materials or products are on hand, and how efficiently time and resources are being managed over any amount of time. For instance, scanning an RFID tag or barcode can improve a physical inventory count both by helping it take far less time, and by helping workers to avoid any potential entry errors.

That, in turn, can inform decisions about the best possible ways to streamline operations at just about any kind of business. By giving executives a top-down view of how things are running and what's on hand at any given moment, kinks in the supply chain or production process can be ironed out with ease, helping businesses save plenty of money over time.

For more information on improving efficiency with barcode technology, download the free white paper entitled "Keeping the Physical World and the Virtual World in Sync" from Insight Works.