Inventory management is a challenge encountered by all businesses that sell products, but it is particularly difficult for those enterprises that deal with perishable products. Basically, perishable products refer to those goods that can only be stored and sold by businesses for a brief period. They expire or lose their value quickly, so special attention must be given to perishable inventory. To properly manage perishable products, businesses need to apply the right inventory management strategies, methods, and tools.
Today, one of the best ways to ensure proper management of perishable inventory is the application of RFID. RFID, which stands for radio frequency identification, is an innovative technology that utilises electromagnetic waves to transmit data between a tag and a reader. It is considered an efficient and reliable asset-tracking system used across various industries, such as manufacturing, retail, transportation, healthcare, and more.
To find out how this breakthrough technology can minimise the loss caused by perishable products, read on as this article explores the role of RFID in enhancing perishable inventory management.
How RFID Works for Perishable Goods
RFID can work for perishable products in various ways, depending on the kind of reader and tag used. There are two primary kinds of RFID tags: active and passive. Active tags come with a battery and can transmit data at intervals or continuously. On the other hand, passive tags have no battery and merely rely on the signal of the RFID reader to power up and send data. While passive tags are more affordable and durable, active tags tend to have more memory and a longer range, so they are more recommended when it comes to managing perishable inventory.
Besides a difference in tags, RFID can also work for perishable goods in various ways, depending on the type of reader utilised. Like RFID tags, there are two main kinds of RFID readers: mobile and fixed. Mobile RFID readers are handheld devices that can scan RFID tags on perishable products in any location, such as pallets, shelves, or trucks. They can also be connected to a smartphone or computer. Meanwhile, fixed RFID readers are installed in particular locations like doors and warehouses and can manually or automatically scan tags within their range only.
The benefits of using RFID in perishable product management
- Monitoring expiration dates
Perishable goods have very short lifecycles. For this reason, efficient perishable inventory management at the item level is crucial to achieving customer satisfaction and business profitability. However, business owners, specifically retailers, are always having a hard time balancing between delivering the freshest products to their customers and distributing items with a minimum shelf life to prevent product expiration.
Fortunately, with the use of RFID technology in combination with an expiration alert system, businesses will already be able to improve the way they manage their stocks, thereby avoiding product obsolescence and losses. This is specifically beneficial for businesses that store or sell perishable products. By using an RFID system, a business can easily identify and place products nearing their expiration dates under discounts or other promotional strategies so that they can be sold before they expire.
- Complete information from the origin to the consumer
Traceability of perishable goods and complete consumer information are both necessary for customer satisfaction and safety. Thanks to the asset-tracking and real-time data transmission capabilities of RFID, consumers will already have the ability to access every piece of information regarding a perishable product’s supply chain, from its origin to the point of sale. This provides both business owners and customers with complete visibility of the entire supply chain, which is especially essential when it comes to perishable products.
The use of RFID technology for perishable products can be an effective and efficient solution for minimising the chances of loss caused by the improper management of perishable inventory. However, to ensure the beneficial role of RFID in enhancing perishable product management, it is important to select the right kind and frequency of readers and tags based on the specific characteristics and needs of the perishable products. With the proper use of RFID, a business can surely improve the way it manages perishable goods.