When managing your inventory, it is vital to consider which data collection method is best for you. Both barcode and RFID scanning (radio-frequency identification) are used for this purpose. However, these methods greatly differ. Not all companies are the same and this post will help you decide which scanner will be the best fit for your needs.
A barcode is a visual represents of data that you can scan to interpret. Each barcode works as to track products; and can be 1D or 2D. For example, linear barcodes vs QR codes. You can scan barcodes on devices such as smartphones and tablets. Much smaller and lighter than RFID tags, making they are easier to use. They are also much cheaper and work on a variety of different materials, and is a technology.
However, there are some disadvantages as well. Barcodes need a direct line-of-sight and have to be relatively close to a scanner in order to be read. Also, barcodes have a 20 character limit and cannot hold as much info as RFID tags. Finally, barcodes need to be handled individually for processing and are easily damaged.
Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID)
RFID tags involve affixing a small radio tag to a product. This tag identifies and tracks the product via radio waves. The advantages of RFID over conventional barcodes are staggering. RFID tags can be read from up to 300 feet away, do not require a line-of-sight to a scanner, and can be read faster than traditional barcodes. Also, they can encrypt data, are reusable, and need minimal human interaction.
But, RFID is not without its disadvantages. These tags are significantly more expensive than barcodes, so they may not be a good fit for new businesses and small-scale companies. Also, RFID tags are still developing. Currently, they have trouble being picked up when the tags are obscured by liquid or metal.
Although this comparison is not extensive, it does provide an initial basis for considering which type of tag is right for you. Ultimately, the best tag is the one that suits your operations.
Clear Spider’s management systems allow for the use of both types of tags. You can use these tags for shipping, receiving, counting, lean manufacturing, and more.