Can the supply chain be helped by RFID technology?

The changes brought about by the pandemic go far beyond work habits and social interactions. While online shopping was already gaining in popularity, home isolation guidelines have forced sceptics to take the plunge. Even if physical shops reopen, it is unlikely that the growth trend in online shopping will fall back to pre-pandemic levels.

As the main bottlenecks in maritime transport could see traffic increase in the next few years, it is time to think about solutions to make container transport more fluid. For logistics to work properly, it is essential to know the progress of the supply chain and the quantities available. This means that products or shipments must be tracked while in transit.

GPS trackers are already part of this tracking, but they need to be connected to a power supply. They are expensive and are mainly used to track the means of transport rather than the parcels on them.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, on the other hand, is cost-effective for tracking packages. It uses wireless signals as a source of energy and to transfer data between a microchip and a reading device, allowing objects to be identified and tracked. RFID is not a new technology; it is already regularly used to make contactless bank card payments. The same “chip” can be embedded in a document or label to track packages and increase efficiency in supply chains.

Identifying packages by reading an RFID tag is ideal for tracking goods and shipments because, unlike barcodes, it can be read from a distance without direct eye contact. This means that an entire pallet of RFID-tagged products can be prepared in one go. Because unique identification codes can be assigned to items, it is possible to track individual products and update their location at key points in transit as they leave the factory, move onto a container, arrive at a port warehouse and are received by a distributor.

Thanks to RFID technology, logistics has the opportunity to improve a large number of processes.

This sector, too, is in search of flexibility and agility, and has no choice but to adapt to health conditions, production shortages and the vagaries of borders. With so many shifting parameters, technologies that make logistics even more reliable would be important stabilising elements.