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Tracking Returnable Transport Items with RFID

Returnable transport items (RTIs) are an essential component of many supply chains, used to move goods from one location to another. RTIs, such as pallets, crates, and containers, are used to transport goods from the manufacturer to the retailer or end-user. However, managing and tracking these items can be a complex and challenging process. That’s where RFID technology comes in – providing real-time, accurate asset visibility and enabling supply chain stakeholders to optimise their operations.

Types of Returnable Transport Items

Returnable transport items come in many different shapes and sizes, including:

  • Pallets: Pallets are the most common RTI and are used to transport goods on and off trucks, through warehouses and distribution centres, and into stores.

  • Crates: Crates are typically used to transport fresh produce, meat, and other perishable goods. They are designed to protect the contents from damage during transportation.

  • Totes: Totes are small containers used for storing and transporting small parts, components, or finished products.

  • Roll cages: Roll cages are used to transport goods from the backroom to the shop floor in retail stores. They can be easily moved around the store and are used to display products.

Challenges with RTI Asset Visibility

Managing and tracking RTIs can be a complex and challenging process, especially when you consider the large number of items that need to be tracked across multiple locations.

The following are some of the key challenges with RTI asset visibility:

  • Manual tracking: Historically, RTIs have been tracked manually, which is time-consuming and error-prone.

  • Inaccurate inventory: Manual tracking can result in inaccurate inventory records, which can lead to stockouts, overstocks, and other inventory-related issues.

  • Loss and theft: RTIs can easily get lost or stolen, which can be costly for businesses.

  • Poor supply chain visibility: When RTIs are lost, damaged, or stolen, it can impact the supply chain’s overall visibility, making it harder to track and manage inventory.

How RFID Technology is Used to Address Challenges and Improve Operations

RFID technology provides a solution to the challenges faced by supply chain stakeholders when managing RTIs. RFID systems consist of tags, readers, and software, which work together to provide real-time asset visibility. The following are some of the ways in which RFID is being used to improve RTI management:

  • Real-time tracking: RFID technology enables real-time tracking of RTIs, providing accurate information on their location, status, and movement. This eliminates the need for manual tracking and reduces the risk of errors.

  • Automated inventory management: RFID systems can automatically update inventory records, providing accurate information on the number of RTIs available and their location. This helps businesses avoid stockouts, overstocks, and other inventory-related issues.

  • Improved security: RFID tags can be used to monitor the movement of RTIs, alerting stakeholders when an item has been moved without authorisation. This reduces the risk of loss and theft, improving overall supply chain security.

  • Better supply chain visibility: RFID technology provides real-time data on RTI movements, allowing supply chain stakeholders to optimise operations and improve overall supply chain visibility. This can help businesses identify bottlenecks, reduce transportation costs, and improve delivery times.

Overall, RFID technology is a valuable tool for improving RTI management and optimising supply chain operations. By providing real-time asset visibility, RFID systems enable businesses to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and enhance customer satisfaction. To learn how RFID can significantly improve your business operations, get in touch with the team today.

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