RFID Solutions and benefits in transport and logistics
Transport and logistics impacts a wide spectrum of industries. Commerce fails when you do not move goods from point to point in the supply chain or move people around the world. The demand to transport assets faster, better, cheaper and ultimately safer, is greater today than ever before. As the cost of labor continues to rise and as companies look to implement additional safety and security provisions, more and more companies are looking to Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) as a tool to reduce errors and improve efficiencies.
Providers of transport and logistics capabilities are positioned between manufacturers, suppliers and the retailer. First, as globalisation increases and the time and distance between the point of manufacturing and the point of consumption increases, so does the need for these companies to improve the efficiency of their operations, reduce costs and ultimately provide better customer service. Second, with rising demand for the delivery of goods, transport companies are looking for faster and cheaper means of delivery, and increased and more accurate tracking capabilities. Third, with fuel prices and labor costs on the rise in an increasingly competitive environment, many logistics providers are running on less than optimal fleet sizes and are struggling to get more from their transport networks.
RFID solutions for the transport and logistics industry (including air, rail, water, truck, parcel/post delivery, transit, and pipeline) can help companies access more accurate and timely data to manage their assets, including the transport vehicle. RFID solutions for asset maintenance, yard management (cross-docking applications), dispatch, pickup and delivery, sales force automation and more secure freight and container solutions are available to help companies improve efficiencies or enhance services to their customers.
In short, the benefits that RFID solutions can provide are numerous and include:
- Enhanced customer service by increasing the accuracy and number of on-time deliveries;
- Reduced labour and inventory carrying costs and improved efficiency for the loading, tracking and delivery of cargo;
- A reduced loss of cargo through theft, mishandling or expiration with improved tracking and status information;
- Reduced fleet maintenance costs and increased fleet availability (asset uptime) by parts availability to support scheduled and preventive maintenance;
- Provision of safe and secure freight transport with container management solutions and electronic container manifests.
Increased adoption of smart solutions such as RFID in logistics operations can truly create sustainable freight flows that reduce logistics costs and improve the carbon footprint for all EU companies. However, the biggest obstacle to the adoption of available smart solutions is cost. Therefore, European policymakers should increase and coordinate funding of pilot projects to leverage the available technology and to deploy innovative technology solutions (including standardisation initiatives) across the supply chain.
From a logistics perspective this can lead to the concept of the “intelligent package”, in which the package would be given the “knowledge” of where it is going by storing this target information in a transponder attached to it. This is key in ensuring Europe’s position at the forefront of global logistics.