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Kristen Baker

The future is N.O.W. and it’s spelled R.F.I.D.

Increasingly, we live in an on-demand environment, as more and more of what we need—or, at least, want—can be purchased and delivered so quickly. To be successful, our work lives are no different. When we need something, we need it NOW.

According to Jim Hilton (Manufacturing and Transportation and Logistics Global Principal, Zebra Technologies), Zebra’s Future of Fulfillment Vision Study* found that 89% of those who answered the survey “agreed that e-commerce is driving the need for faster delivery. In response, companies are turning to digital technology and analytics to bring heightened automation, merchandise visibility, and business intelligence to the supply chain to compete in the on-demand consumer economy.” He added that, “Driven by the always-connected, tech-savvy shopper, retailers, manufacturers, and logistics companies are collaborating and swapping roles in uncharted ways to meet shoppers’ omni-channel product fulfillment and delivery expectations.”

So, your customers not only want things on demand—their businesses need them on demand, to remain competitive. How can you help them stay ahead of the pack? Enter RFID.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is widely used across many different vertical markets. When you think RFID, think barcode—but with one difference. Where barcode systems use optical scanners to read the bars containing the data, RFID systems use radio waves to read the data from tags, which really are just small chips. When the tag is in range, an RFID reader sends a signal to it, and then the tag sends a signal back, allowing the reader to see what data it holds. Every tag has a unique code, so readers can talk to many of them at once. There are lots of different types of readers, depending on your customers’ needs, but hand-held scanners are just one common example. And, because tags are so small, they can be put into devices as tiny as a key fob or label! The tag’s data is transmitted either by cable or wirelessly, and the data then can be used in a variety of ways. RFID works with modern technologies, including smartphones, apps, and computer systems, is inexpensive to implement, and new avenues of its use constantly are being introduced, including in supply-chain management and in the safety arena—where it can find potentially hazardous construction flaws in buildings!

In a new world where, according to the same Zebra study*, “78% of logistics companies expect to provide same-day delivery by 2023 and 40% anticipate delivery within a two-hour window by 2028,” RFID could be just the ticket for your customer’s business. Anywhere improved data collection is needed, you’ll be almost certain to find more RFID, as its use becomes even more cost-effective, and the efficiency and accuracy it delivers are more broadly realized.

Want to learn more about selling RFID? Contact me, Kristen Baker, so I can answer your questions. Then, when you’re ready, don’t forget to purchase your Zebra products through ScanSource. We can help you build the solutions your customers need now, and in the future.

Zebra’s Future of Fulfillment Vision Study