Innovations in Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain ManagementSupply chain management continues to evolve as the Internet of Things (IoT) brings new technology and tracking methods to manufacturers. One area of evolution is the use of tags to track items moving in the supply chain. Use of third party logistics services, external shipping services, and other methods of moving items from their source to the manufacturing plant has given new urgency to the need to track transit times. Idle equipment drags profits and delays orders. The faster supplies reach the manufacturing floor, the faster orders can be turned around to customers.

Given this need, companies have advanced in the use of tags to transmit shipping data. You may already be familiar with RFID tags. Active RFID tags use a battery-powered transmitter to relay data during transit. Passive RFID tags include an embedded microchip and an antenna so that data can be accessed remotely. Both are an improvement over manual checks on items during transit and barcode scans along the way. Although useful, these rely on people to remember to perform the scan or check. RFID tags automate the process.

NFC tags are the latest development in the use of tags for supply chain tracking and management. These tags are like small stickers with a tiny microchip inside. They can be placed on items such as individual boxes, packages or bags, or on bins, containers, and pallets. You program a smartphone to read the chips, and if it is held nearby, it can automatically pick up on the data inside the chip.

Such chips are all part of the IoT, with the ability to track and monitor packages as they move through the supply chain. Companies who can track items can better estimate manufacturing times, equipment and personnel needs, warehouse stock status, and shipping times for their customers. This is a great example of how better information leads to better service and, in turn, improved customer satisfaction. If you aren’t using barcode scanners, RFID or NFC tags now is the time to explore these options to make your business better.

For more information or to get help finding the best solution to your warehouse automation needs, contact Scanco at 1.877.722.6261