Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tech has made huge strides in many industries. The two we will focus on are supply chain and logistics. The potential in these areas is enormous. There are many ways RFID can improve operations, with new uses emerging daily. If you want a more in-depth description of the technology and some of its benefits, be sure to take a look at the first post in this RFID series.
This post will focus on the benefits that RFID offers to omnichannel distribution. Omnichannel distribution is a variation of multichannel distribution. Before, companies could sell through channels such as eCommerce, mobile devices, catalogs, and brick and mortar stores. Now, they are taking that one step further. Firms are offering a seamless experience from channel to channel. A customer can now research items online to find the best price and reserve it in store to get a hands-on look. Next, if they are happy with it they can make the purchase and the company will ship it to them the next day. This is only one example of how omnichannel impacts the customer experience. The possibilities are limitless! Plus, with the integration of RFID, the span will broaden even further.
However, omnichannel means a complex supply chain. Fulfilling orders accurately and in a timely manner was already hard. Now, it just became more challenging. Multiple customers can now be using multiple channels at the same time. As a result, retailers need to be able to track inventory in this way as well.
Consumers expectations are at an all-time high. If firms are promising products, customers expect them to follow through. Else, they will simply go elsewhere. This brings up many challenging decisions. Where can you hold inventory? What will the product mix look like? What type of transportation can you use?
The coordination in the supply chain becomes more difficult with blurred lines between channels. RFID can help provide the instantaneous updates that are needed in omnichannel distribution. Know where your products are at all times and be notified right away of any changes in quantity. Inventory visibility is a deciding factor in whether an omnichannel system succeeds or fails. By incorporating RFID before entering into a full omnichannel distribution network, you can avoid many potential issues. RFID visibility allows you to see your inventory network as a whole rather than on a channel to channel basis.
RFID has many benefits in supply chain and logistics. Providing the visibility needed to set up an omnichannel network is only one. Over the next few weeks, we will be covering topics around other benefits RFID can offer and some company case studies. Be sure to check back for more posts.