rfid Radio Frequency Identification

RFID Labels What Do I Need To Know For Products In Canada And The USA!

RFID labels, I hear the term but what does it mean and should I be thinking of using it for my business? RFID is a radio frequency identification . Every product is identified somehow. A sign, a label, a barcode label and an RFID label are all different ways to identify product. Which one should I chose? If I own a lemonade stand chances are I'll make a sign to describe what's in the pitcher. If I manufacture gum, chances are that my label will have words to tell the consumer what it is, and a bar code for the cash register scanner to identify the product and
price. RFID uses radio frequencies to transmit data to a reader which captures the data. The reader takes the digital information and downloads it to it's computer so the data may be used and interpreted.

RFID tags or labels contain a micro chip which can store about 2KB of data. This allows you to store more than just it's SKU and price. You can store other important information like which manufacturing plant it comes from, the date it was manufactured and expiration date to name a few. why do we want to capture this information in this way. Business today is about profit, streamlining and being the most productive you can be.

If we can capture this data instantly then we can analyze it and make the right decisions quicker and more accurately. If we can reduce manual operations, we increase efficiency and reduce the chance for human errors, either by careless mistakes or wrong assumptions.

This sounds like a great system so why isn't everybody using it? It's not because it's a new technolgy because it isn't. Why the change now? It has been around since at least the 70's and was primarily used in the army. The reason it hasn't become the accepted norm is the cost. The readers alone can cost $1000.00 each and the labels themselves are considerably more expensive than bar code labels. Without mass acceptance and technological advancements this technology was not thought of as a viable alternative.

Why the change now? Basically it comes down to one word, Walmart. Walmart has grown into such a huge company that to manage it's logistics and supply chain it has become essential to be the most efficient and streamlined as possible. Walmart feels that this technology will help it control it's inventory and procurement costs, thereby increasing it's profitability. It has thus dictated that it's top 50 suppliers start using this technology.

This one decision has changed the evolution of RFID labels. Money is now being spent to increase RFID reliability and lower the cost for it's use. We now have second generation RFID labels which are cheaper, more powerful and more reliable than the first generation. Like personal computers this product should become more powerful and cheaper as time goes on. Other mass retailers are jumping on the RFID band wagon not wanting to be left behind and be at a competitive disadvantage.

RFID is available at a limited amount of printers due to the learning curve needed to manufacture these labels properly. Solutions Ink is one of these few companies able to deliver RFID labels and help answer all your questions. If you need more information about your labelling needs email me at steve@solutionsink4u.com or check out www.solutionsink4u.com

Steven Schneidman Solutions Ink steve@solutionsink4u.com www.solutionsink4u.com
About the author:
Steven Schneidman has taught finance at a Canadian University and worked at the head office of a major Canadian Bank. He currently owns a successful printing and promotional product company.