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Currently, the industrial sector is responsible for about 32% of the nation’s total energy consumption. Between compliance fees, utility charges, and labor expenses, manufacturing plants expect high costs when it comes to storing inventory on-site. However, to keep up with surges in demand, manufacturers must keep necessary materials always in hand lest they risk sudden stockouts that lead to delays in production, lost sales, and product shortages. To circumvent these issues, inventory management strategies like just-in-time (JIT) material reordering have become more prominent as a way to alleviate storage expenses, yet while cost-effective, JIT leaves little room for error.

When operating in a JIT inventory management system, facilities strive to keep less inventory on site to avoid stockpiling materials that may not get used. This means that operators must quickly reorder materials as soon as they dip below an established threshold point to avoid shortages. Failure to reorder on time can pause operations since the production line has to wait for incoming materials. When done correctly, JIT enables:

  • Minimized storage costs
  • Greater visibility on products assembled
  • Mitigated depreciation risks
  • Maximized storage space for finished goods
  • Seamless adaptability to sudden increases in demand

Establishing Effective Tracking for Just-in-Time Reordering

To prevent the risks of inefficient JIT inventory management, a viable system should integrate the following three factors.

  1. Real-time data visibility – Preventing out-of-stocks requires fast insight into dwindling inventory. That’s why real-time visibility stemming from technologies such as RFID locationing and digitization have become essential in securing JIT efficiency since they allow workers to target decreasing inventory counts before they fall below the established threshold level. 
  2. Unbroken workforce communication – In addition to timely visibility, workers should be able to communicate with each other immediately to notify of any impending shortages or stockouts. Solutions like Zebra’s Workforce Connect transforms current handheld devices into two-way radios for manufacturer and delivery teams, closing the gaps between delivery and receiving docks, so workers know when and where incoming shipments will arrive.
  3. Scalable automation – One of the perks of JIT reordering is that it facilitates adaptability in the event of sudden surges in demand, yet this flexibility can only be capitalized if the correct data processing tools are in place. Versatile enterprise devices such as Zebra’s rugged tablets provide adaptable functionality with flexible connectivity options, built-in scanning capabilities, longer battery life, and higher data security parameters to streamline data capture, processing, and sharing on one platform. Therefore, workers can simply add an additional layer of functionality to their versatile devices instead of having to deploy an entire new device to keep up with changes.   

While JIT inventory management has gripped the attention of most manufacturers, it is only one of the many ways supply chains are adapting to meet demands and overcome shortages challenges. To get a better idea of how you can optimize your inventory management system, schedule a workflow assessment and explore the modernized solutions reshaping supply chains today

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The first half of 2021 has been marked by an ever-dwindling workforce across multiple industries. From foodservice to warehousing, businesses have struggled to attract and retain skilled employees due to growing issues such as greater job options, requests for higher wages, and limited childcare opportunities. While warehouses are slowly regaining numbers, transportation and logistics firms may still face greater demands with the end-of-year e-commerce boom brought on by the holiday season. With delivery timeframes expected to shrink even more and high turnover rates, T&L businesses find themselves with the challenge of accelerating order processing without overwhelming current employees. To do so, field teams have adopted the following strategies:

  1. Streamline operations through one consolidated workflow – Individual devices incur individual costs such as maintenance, software, and replacement fees. Moreover, new employees must then learn to operate several devices quickly to maintain productivity levels, further increasing training costs. Newer mobile computers such as Zebra’s TC72/77 reduce costs by streamlining computing, data capture, and communication channels into one device. This reduces training times and operational costs as employees only need to grow accustomed to one device.  
  2. Track worker safety to prevent more understaffing issues – Worker safety both in and outside the four walls continues to be a deciding factor when it comes to employment retention. That’s why exposure awareness systems have become increasingly more popular as they allow transparent traceability of possible germ exposure. Moreover, on the field, secured connectivity systems like Zebra Workforce Connect enable hands-free communication with warehouses in real-time, preventing accidents and facilitating precise driver locationing and delivery status through one interface.
  3. Remove paper-based reporting for zero-wait data sharing – Unlike pen-and-paper inventory management, modernized data capture preserves team connections by facilitating instant data sharing through one centralized database. In doing so, warehouses can update delivery teams of order volume, changes in ETA, and routing changes without delay.
  4. Minimize touchpoints between loading and shipping – Contactless transactions have gained popularity across the supply chain due to their speed and safety. RFID technology has led the forefront in minimizing extra touchpoints by capturing multiple barcodes in one scan and tracking in-motion inventory for maximized visibility. 

Optimizing scalable efficiency can take many shapes depending on your operation’s current struggles. Get a clearer picture on how to start safeguarding productivity in your workflows when you schedule an in-depth assessment and stay a step ahead of change with a modernization solution that adjusts to your needs.

Ensuring seamless inventory movement down the supply chain, your enterprise printing solution works hard to deliver crisp, legible, and durable labels and tags carrying vital stock information. Needless to say, your printer is the foundation of an effective printing solution, which is why careful consideration of the following four factors must be taken when upgrading your enterprise printer:

  1. Workspace type – While highly durable, large industrial-grade printers take up a lot of space. On the other hand, small desktop printers lack the needed portability mobile printers bring. Assessing where your printing stations will be located helps narrow down choices.
  2. Connectivity type – All printers must possess a way to communicate with your database to produce labels. Modernized printers can connect via Bluetooth, allowing workers to print from anywhere through their handheld devices.
  3. Future applications – Understanding the differences between direct thermal and thermal transfer printing allows you to select a printer with the durability standards needed to handle high continuous heat.
  4. Ease-of-use – Lastly, as supply chains strive to meet smaller timeframes with an ever-changing workforce, ease-of-use has also become a prioritizing factor since a simplistic printer may enable faster deployment and maximized productivity when compared to a complex model.

Integrate an adaptable printing solution with Zebra’s ZD621 Desktop Printer

Changes in supply chain demands and labor availability can make it difficult to estimate how much printing power your operations will need in the future. To circumvent disruptions, Zebra’s newest desktop printer aggregates key features to boost adaptability in smaller workspaces. Unlike previous models, the ZD621 enables:

  • Increased printing power that’s 30% higher than previous models and 300% than legacy devices.
  • Backwards compatibility with your current label formats.
  • Application adaptability as you can choose between direct thermal, thermal transfer, and RFID models.
  • Streamlined troubleshooting and update deployments through Zebra’s Printer Profile Manager Enterprise app.

Click here to see the full list of the ZD621 printer’s benefits.

From longer printing performance to faster label production, discover the ease of modernized label printing with the next evolution of warehouse technology. Contact us to take a closer look into the newest edge of durable printing.

When operating in dynamic supply chains, operational visibility is critical to prevent unseen obstacles from halting productivity and impacting customer satisfaction. However, increasing demands and shortages have created a unique situation where modernization -while beneficial and promising- can be a hindrance if it’s not easily adopted by an evolving workforce. From the production floor to the checkout lane, automation must enhance worker performance. In warehouses, 77% of businesses are currently in the process of equipping workers with automated solutions. At the other end of the supply chain, retailers have claimed over 60% of RFID tag purchases in 2020 alone. To ensure smooth implementation, the following three factors have become popular among leading modernization strategies.

Modernization is built on familiar interfaces, intuitive versatility, and tested expertise.

As automated systems are designed, Avalon recommends considering the following as foundational parts of your modernization plan for hassle-free implementation:

  • Familiar Interfaces – An hour of downtime, whether planned or surprise, can cost businesses over $100,000 per hour in lost productivity, missed deadlines, customer dissatisfaction, and worker stress. To combat this, familiar interfaces such as touchscreen usability and Android’s user-friendly OS help diminish training times while welcoming new hires without complex functionalities.  This is where applications such as Zebra’s All-Touch Terminal Emulation (TE) come in handy as they help convert legacy TE apps into a touchscreen display for immediate use prior installation.
  • Intuitive Versatility – Supply chain efficiency generally depends on three kinds of devices: the scanner, the data processor, and a communicator. For this reason, most team members have been burdened with three or more devices to execute these three main tasks. A feasible modernization strategy should attempt to streamline these tasks through one versatile device. For example, newer mobile computers have been adapted to include intelligent data capture, fast automated data processing directly to your centralized management system, and sustainable communication channels that eliminate the need for bulky two-way radios.
  • Tested Expertise – Working alongside longtime experts such as Avalon’s modernization specialists helps diminish deployment times since they can draw from multiple past scenarios for a tailored design. Furthermore, post-deployment services such as assisted maintenance and tech support certifies your solution is running smoothly for future updates and changes.

With the 2021 Peak Season fast approaching, swift and seamless modernization may just be the key to enhancing your competitive edge and surpassing customer expectations. Take the first step when you talk through your options with an Avalon specialist to begin designing a modernization strategy that elevates productivity and profitability with hassle-free implementation.

What Makes Intelligent Automation So Smart?

It’s no surprise that intelligent automation has been on the forefront of current modernization trends. Over two thirds of warehouses across the globe have continuously cited partial automation as the key to increased profitability and competitiveness, yet not every automation solution is built the same. This explains why so many warehouses remain cautious to swap familiar systems such as pen-and-paper inventory tracking for newer solutions such as RFID locationing since disruptions can lead to:

  • Operational delays that affect the whole supply chain – Studies suggest parcel shipments will double to 220 billion shipments worldwide by 2026.
  • Negative brand identity – Nearly seven out of ten shoppers abandon brands if their purchase isn’t delivered within two days the stipulated time frame.   
  • Lost sales and customer loyalty – Customer acquisition costs can amount to 25% more retention costs.
  • Inventory and asset misplacements that contribute to higher TCO – Improper storage and handling has created a $750 billion loss in the food industry alone.
  • Worker stress that fuels labor turnover rates – With turnover rates exceeding 30%, warehouses simply can’t afford to risk complex systems requiring longer training and onboarding time.
What Makes Intelligent Automation So Smart image

Sense, Evaluate, and Expand

Streamlining workflows from multiple areas in the warehouse, truly intelligent automation solutions should be able to leverage captured data into actionable insight without hindering productivity. Assess a solution’s intelligence by analyzing its capacity to accomplish the following three goals:

  1. It empowers you to sense change while communicating with supporting systems such as your WMS, ERP, and TMS. For example, Zebra’s Fortified Android enables greater intelligence by aggregating new applications into its open ecosystem, ultimately facilitating data sharing between systems and departments.
  2. It simplifies data evaluation to create actionable insights. Paper-based data systems have been shown to be more error-prone, thus complicating actionable intelligence since workers must navigate through several logs and systems. On the other hand, automated data capture and RFID solutions eliminate complications while accelerating data entry with less touchpoints and room for error.
  3. It’s expandable for the whole warehouse and future employees as operations grow. Since demands are only expected to continue increasing, technologies should welcome the possibilities of high demand, longer shifts, and tougher work environments. Rugged hardware such as Zebra’s handheld MC9300 exemplifies this well by pairing its ultra-rugged design with a user-friendly Android interface for easy deployment. The result is a scalable mobility solution fit for indoor and outdoor use year-round.

Based on these three goals, there are many next-generation technologies that can form an intelligent automation solution. With the help of an experienced solution design team, you can start building a modernization plan that best suits your warehouse. Contact us for more information.

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Imagine one day being able to offer same-day delivery across the country, from California to New York. For many transportation and logistics teams, this imagination has become a nightmarish reality. While fast delivery timeframes can bolster customer loyalty, last mile delivery is still considered the most inefficient step of the whole supply chain for over half of T&L companies. Inefficiency often stems from:

  • Lack of status visibility
  • Fluctuating labor and fuel costs
  • Inadequate delivery routing
  • Sudden changes such as vehicle breakdowns, product shortages, etc.

Studies show that 49% of global T&L companies cite outdated technology as a common factor hindering last mile efficiency, resulting in delays, missed sales, and lost customers. As a result. Over 58% of field operations see mobility investment as a top priority, yet when it comes to field services, durability must extend beyond design.

Assessing functional durability in your field-ready devices

Field teams have little time or money for additional repair expenses and slowed processing power, which is why suitable enterprise-grade technologies should incorporate the following strengths.

  1. Secured data storage – Filed teams must be able to access data remotely which means durable cybersecurity is crucial to maintain accessibility without risking breaches. Unlike Windows Mobile, Android for Enterprise equips mobile devices with government-grade protection and recurring security patches to prevent leaks.
  2. Long-range connectivity – High speed connectivity and flexible network options allow teams to remain connected to the rest of the supply chain while on the road. Zebra’s Workforce Connect bypasses the need for additional telecom services, enabling two-way communication and messaging via your enterprise device.
  3. Real-time status insight – Because more customers expect to track orders in near real-time, tracking technologies such as RFID locationing have become popular to pinpoint location of in-transit orders.
  4. Ultra-rugged design – Lastly, mobile devices must continue to be rugged, handling drops, dust, exposure to heat and cold, humidity and scratches without affecting performance. Devices such as Zebra’s Rugged Tablets exemplify superior durability by adapting to various different environments without compromising productivity.

As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon empowers field teams with purpose-built field-ready technologies through the GO Zebra Trade-In Program. Upgrade your mobile device from any manufacturer before December 31st and get cash rebates up to $250 per handheld device towards your upgrade. Simply…

  1. Buy your new mobile device
  2. Turn in your reclaim form
  3. Trade in outdated devices for cash rebates

Download the program details for the full list of eligible devices.

Empower your field teams with mobility solutions built to thrive in the last mile and beyond. Contact Avalon today for a free assessment of your mobile devices to get started.

 

 

Rapid advances in technology have left little room for errors to be tolerated by today’s customers. RFID technologies, faster data processing, and high-speed connectivity have helped shape new customer expectations, yet fulfilling these expectations without complete operational visibility may be difficult. As more brands move towards partial and full automation, warehouses must track and manage several crucial performance indicators to:

  • Spot bottlenecks before they cause downtime
  • Reduce inventory misplacements to prevent out-of-stocks
  • Adjust to surprise changes in product demand
  • Streamline workflows for faster processing and reduced labor costs
  • Lower overall operational costs without reducing efficiency

KPI Warehouse Tracking

KPIs warehouses have cited as top priority indicators to track in order to remain competitive

Next-generation visibility solutions can help expand control over your operations, yet in addition to implementation, one must consider which indicators to emphasize. Below are several KPIs warehouses have cited as top priority indicators to track in order to remain competitive in today’s highly digitized age.

  1. Cost of Order Processing Per Order – By measuring labor costs per order, you also gain insight into worker productivity and average estimated cycle time.
  2. Resource Utilization – From your mobile devices to your docks and storage, every part contributes to overall expenses, which is why it’s crucial to make sure every resource is properly used and maintained to prevent downtime.  
  3. Picking Accuracy – With so many businesses offering similar products, order accuracy, and positive customer service have become differentiating factors that can make or break a purchase. As a result, tracking order accuracy provides insight into possible customer retention.
  4. Carrying Costs – Stored inventory can lead to either possible revenue or financial loss over time. By tracking carrying costs, you are able to manage low and high-risk inventory, ultimately regulating stock levels.
  5. Inventory Turnover – What was cited as one of the most important KPIs, inventory turnover is directly linked to customer demand as you can track how often inventory comes and leaves the warehouse to travel down the supply chain. 
  6. Rate of ReturnAbout 51% of customers report abandoning a business after one bad experience. Tracking return and backorder rates can give better insight into how your customers are interacting with your products after purchases are complete.

RFID tracking has become a popular visibility solution gaining traction across several industries; however, despite its high accuracy rates and promising future, it may not be suitable for everyone. Consequently, Avalon’s experts have teamed up with Zebra Technologies in the latest Avalon podcast to shed greater light on the versatility of RFID.

In the event RFID does not sound suitable to your operations, Avalon specializes in many other visibility and identification systems such as:

  • Bluetooth Low-Energy  Locationing – More adaptable to smaller budgets, BLE can help locate assets for greater worker productivity, managed device utilization, and less downtime and misplacements. 
  • Enterprise-grade Data Capture – As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon provides pretested labels and consumables that retain product information from production to checkout. 
  • Versatile Mobile Computers – Modernized mobile computers and enterprise-grade operating systems such as Android OS can help streamline workflows while connecting your workforce in real-time either through high-speed connectivity or push-to-talk capabilities. Access our portfolio to explore all of Zebra’s enterprise-grade mobile computers.

RFID KPI Warehouse Visibility

Expand your RFID Visibility with Avalon Integration

To see how you can expand operational visibility, reach out to our RFID and automation specialists for a free assessment of your workflow, and integrate a future-forward solution tailored to your goals.

Compared to ten years ago, today’s warehouse operations are starkly different. Not only did 5,000 new warehouses appear in a span of 5 years, but e-commerce sales have skyrocketed over 300% way before the global health crisis. Thanks to globalization and the internet, the high demand for specific products and fast order fulfillment has revolutionized operations, leading to one of the biggest business trends helping and hindering operations: SKU proliferation. 

As companies adapt to cater to customer preferences, they create new product varieties, giving way to new SKU numbers to identify different types of the same kind of product. This is a natural progression for any growing business, yet without crucial visibility, SKU proliferation can lead to:

  • Increased carrying costs as you’ll need more shelf space and labor to accommodate more products
  • Increased manufacturing/production costs for slow-moving inventory
  • Added order cycle times since workers take more time to compile orders
  • Missed predictive analytics since collected data does not apply to larger segments of your operations

However, when done correctly, SKU proliferation sharpens your competitive advantage by allowing your business to fulfill a customer’s immediate and secondary needs. Therefore, Avalon Integration outlines three ways your distribution plan can leverage intelligent visibility solutions to best manage varying SKUs.

Bringing Insight to Where it’s Needed Most

When modernizing inventory management, Avalon suggests the following areas to start:

Analyze purchase patterns in conjunction with customer interactions

Zebra L10 Tablet to Analyze Purchase Patterns

Zebra’s L10 tablets provide ample screen space, processing power, and integrated scanning capabilities

Obviously, one of the most common causes of SKU proliferation is customer demand. For example, a shoe company selling back shoes may notice the sudden popularity of red shoes and decide to sell them as well. While this may be competitively smart, one must not forget to continue monitoring current stock performance. In our shoe example, that would mean managers would still need to accurately track the number of black shoes in stock, how often they sell, and where they’re located in addition to trends in demand.

To properly analyze stock performance without increasing cycle count times, Avalon recommends streamlining data capture and mobile computing to eliminate data entry. Mobile devices such as Zebra’s L10 tablets provide ample screen space, processing power, and integrated scanning capabilities to empower workers to manage data on the go, creating an undisrupted inventory management system.

Connect workers to real-time stock updates

MC3390R RFID Real-Time Stock Updates

Integrate real-time visibility with RFID tracking solutions

Customer preferences can change within a day, sometimes in a matter of minutes. Moreover, research shows that customers are more likely to abandon carts if they’re unable to fulfill 100% of their needs in one place. That means every decision your workforce takes matters.  To avoid wasting labor efforts, integrate real-time visibility with RFID tracking solutions, such as Zebra MotionWorks, to manage multiple inventory identifiers all once. Inventory counts and location can then be shared with your workforce via their mobile device to accelerate picking by guiding them to the correct location faster.

Protect communication channels across the whole supply chain

Zebra TC77 Touch Computer Communication

Zebra’s TC77 touch-computer for high-speed and long-range connectivity

Disruptive communication channels such as Blockchain Technology are already redefining the way supply chains communicate by allowing enterprises to monitor inventory before it reaches the receiving dock. That means connectivity has now become a driving factor in enhancing competitiveness since it also allows customers to track their orders, a benefit sought by 97% of online shoppers. While there are many ways to establish communication channels between teams, Avalon continues to prioritize streamlined productivity and flexibility by recommending Zebra’s TC77 touch-computer for high-speed and long-range connectivity that keeps field teams and warehouses connected while also providing mobile computing and data capture capabilities.

As a Zebra Premier Solutions’ Partner, Avalon Integration makes sure to connect you with durable enterprise-ready solutions. Contact us today to discover new ways you can get a better handle on SKU proliferation with solutions tailored to your workflow.

Your inventory management system plays a key role in maintaining an undisrupted supply chain. The more efficient your system is, the less complicated your workflows will be. With so many technological advancements available, there are many ways to enhance inventory management. However, building efficiency doesn’t have to depend solely on hardware. As leading providers of warehouse optimization solutions, Avalon Integration brings you five simple ways to start enhancing your inventory system and how you can implement them in your operations for maximized profitability at a lower TCO.

1. Set Threshold Values

Set Threshold Values

A quality inventory system should be able to establish minimum stock requirements to avoid surprise out-of-stocks

At the very minimum, a quality inventory system should be able to establish minimum stock requirements to avoid surprise out-of-stocks. A step ahead would be to monitor incoming and leaving stock to keep it from dropping below your set threshold. Furthermore, threshold levels can also be applied to your supplies to root out downtime before it happens.

2. Prepare for Triumphs and Trials

Zebra Motionworks for Triumphs and Trials

Your supply chain may be disrupted by outside/uncontrollable factors

2020’s global pandemic has gone a long way to prove there is no such thing as over-preparing. Living within a globalized world, it’s only expected that your supply chain may be disrupted by outside/uncontrollable factors, good and bad, such as:

  • Sudden demand of any particular product
  • Shrinking workforces and rising labor costs
  • Running out of storage space
  • Miscalculations in inventory counting
  • Discontinuing materials

By tracking your inventory’s movement concerning demand, you can better prepare for chaotic moments. Zebra’s MotionWorks software helps deliver a birds-eye view of your moving inventory onto your handheld, so you have everything you need to make informed decisions on the fly.

3. Cycle Counting and Spot Checking

MC2200 Cycle Counting

Zebra’s all-new MC2200/MC2700 mobile computer as the next evolution of streamlined data capture

Regular inventory audits provide dependable certainty that your reported stocks match what’s logged in your WMS; however, this manual process takes a long time when done all at once. Automated cycle counting procedures such as the ones supported by Zebra’s TC52 help you conduct accurate audits without stalling productivity. Another option to consider is Zebra’s all-new MC2200/MC2700 mobile computer as the next evolution of streamlined data capture and intelligent ergonomics.

4. Standardize Your Identification Process

RFID Labels Standardize your Identification Process

When inventory arrives at the warehouse, it must be readily verified and labeled

When inventory arrives at the warehouse, it must be readily verified and labeled; however, as the stock moves around the warehouse, it may need to be relabeled and information may be lost from label to label. By simplifying your labeling process, you can prevent data entry errors and constant reprinting, which wears down printheads and wastes printing supplies.

To streamline label information while diminishing supply costs, RFID labels aggregate as much as 40 identifiers in one tag, simplifying data capture from receiving to shipping.

Another way to simplify standardization is to make sure your operating system is up to date and user-friendly. To accomplish this, Avalon recommends Android’s intuitive platform as it’s been shown to accelerate onboarding and protect data from unauthorized access.

Listen to our newest podcast to learn more about the benefits of Android.

5. Prioritize Inventory

Prioritize Inventory

Labeling is crucial in this factor since barcodes house essential information

This is perhaps the most important of all initiatives you can take. By tracking incoming inventory and current shelved stock, you are able to line up inventory and sell older products first before it loses its value or is no longer sellable.

Accurate labeling is crucial in this factor since barcodes house essential information -such as expiration dates, storage requirements, and delivery dates- throughout your stock’s journey. Quality labels can help make sure you always know which product is on your priority list. To boost labeling efficiency, Avalon has continuously recommended Zebra Certified Consumables due to its rugged adhesive and coating strength.

When it comes to enhancing your inventory management system, every small detail counts. For more simple cost-effective ways to maximize operational efficiency, contact our automation experts here.

Facing an increase of demands for seamless real-time tracking, many businesses are being forced to revisit their tracking systems in search of improvements. As a result, Avalon Integration has made it a priority to make sure our clients understand the differences between the top tracking technologies within today’s markets: RFID and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). 

Download the Warehouse Vision Study

Click here to download the Warehouse Vision Study

Last year’s Zebra’s Warehousing Vision Study estimated over a third of surveyed warehouses will invest in RFID and locationing technologies by 2024. From optimized picking to verified packing, to real-time inventory management, RFID and BLE serve as more than mere tracking systems as they both give you contextual intelligence to restructure operations based on trends and available resources. While they are both similar and useful, several key differences must be understood before choosing your next locationing system.

What will you need?

Zebra RFID Devices

Avalon and Zebra can help you deploy a complete RFID locationing system

Although both solutions can be customized to fit specialized needs, they both have set requirements when it comes to hardware. To deploy a complete RFID locationing system, you’ll need:

  • An Antennae – Your RFID antennae will connect the reader’s signal to the tags. Needless to say, damaged or subpar antennas can damage the whole operation as they can “lose” signals.
  • A Reader – Capturing up to 1000 codes with one trigger pull, your reader can be customized to match frequency type, delivering 99.99% accurate scans in less time than conventional barcoding.
  • Your choice of an active or passive tag – While RFID is significantly more expensive than other locationing systems, it provides greater flexibility in tagging options. Passive tags are more cost-effective since they don’t have any integrated power sources and can reach up to 82ft in the reading range. Active tags can track high-value assets more accurately with embedded power within the tag, covering a range of up to 328ft.

On the flip side, a BLE solution requires:

  • A BLE tag – These tags contain their own power source, which requires less energy from your operations. Tags generally communicate within ranges as high as 20ft.
  • A Reader – Because Bluetooth technology was developed within the same era as most smart devices, many consumer phones and technologies have Bluetooth capabilities and can serve as readers, reducing hardware costs. However, when it comes to securing reliable device performance in harsher environments, Avalon recommends pairing your BLE tags with enterprise-grade hardware instead.

How will your system communicate?

Complete RFID Tracking System

RFID tags communicate via radio-frequency waves with the antennae

RFID tags communicate via radio-frequency waves with the antennae, pinpointing tag location for real-time tracking. Your reader is then able to digest scanned information and transpose it onto your inventory management interface. This communication pattern empowers workers to:

  • Eliminate manual data entry 
  • Accelerate scanning without requiring line of sight
  • Integrate long-distance data capture

Bluetooth locationing differs from RFID in allowing tags to communicate with each other, eliminating complicated networks and wasteful energy. Readers can sense nearby Bluetooth beacons, providing real-time tracking without constant scanning along with:

  • Easiest implementation
  • Trackable users and assets 
  • Smaller power drain

BLE provides a simplified way to integrate real-time visibility into your operations, while RFID serves as a scalable and adaptable tracking system. Nevertheless, there are many other tracking choices you may want to consider.

Final Considerations

Warehouse Employee Scanning with RFID

Whether you choose an RFID or BLE tracking system, both methods will require an interface to collect and display your data. Once again, this is where consumer-grade devices are unsuitable since they would add extra weight to workers who already carry other enterprise-grade devices. To maximize worker comfort and device performance, modernized tracking solutions are tailored to fit into your mobile computer. As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon provides intelligent Zebra mobile computers that accommodate both BLE and RFID tracking systems onto a user-friendly Android system. To see how your mobile device can fit into an optimized tracking solution, contact us here.