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Application of RFID in beverage retail industry

Application of RFID in beverage retail industry


In recent years, some major US retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target and Albertson have begun to require their suppliers to deploy RFID technology at the pallet level. For the future, people also envisaged application plans for RFID technology, such as the "Smart Shelf" plan. After the plan is completed, when consumers push goods with RFID tags through the supermarket exit, the reader will read the identification information on the goods in an instant, so that people do not need to line up to check out.


This is just one of the applications of RFID technology. The most typical application is focused on inventory management: that is, it is used to track the storage and transportation of goods, and to check the status and location of the product during transportation.


The application of RFID technology has promoted the development of all walks of life. As a member of the retail industry, beverages are naturally no exception.


RFID technology will bring benefits to the beverage retail industry


In the eyes of beverage manufacturers, RFID identification and scanning are meaningless for maintaining the inventory in the room. However, in the retail field, RFID technology can improve the supply chain replenishment efficiency. This is the reason why retailers are keen to establish RFID systems. .


Solve the problem of out of stock


To maximize the transparency of the supply chain is an important goal for retailers. One of the biggest existing problems for retailers is that when a consumer wants to buy a product, but knows that the product is out of stock, in most cases, he will choose to buy it elsewhere. In this way, retailers not only lose the opportunity to sell goods, but also lose the possibility of consumers buying other goods in their own stores.


Wal-Mart has pointed out: If it can solve the problem of 1% of products out of stock, Wal-Mart can get 2.5 billion US dollars in sales revenue. In order to be able to do this, the retailer has to examine what product will be out of stock: is the retailer unaware that the product is out of stock? Or do they not know that there is inventory in the warehouse? Or is the product in transit from the factory to the supermarket? RFID Technology can give retailers the transparency they want, telling them what they have now and where these things are currently.


Reduce the amount of safety stock


If the inventory is sufficiently transparent, it can theoretically reduce the amount of safe inventory that must be maintained in the warehouse, thereby reducing the inventory of all commodities and saving a lot of expenses.


Reduce labor costs


Although barcodes can also be done, barcodes require more physical scanning, which usually leads to more manual operations. RFID is a more automated technology that can improve reading speed and supply chain transparency without adding additional labor costs.


What benefits can beverage manufacturers get from RFID technology


The first is to meet the retailer's RFID adaptation requirements and maintain a good trade relationship with the retailer. For example, Wal-Mart recently said that 30 minutes after the first reading of the product identification, the company will publish the inventory status on the Internet, and anyone can check it. This can help beverage manufacturers to track the products in the supply chain; and as the development of RFID technology becomes more and more deep, and the systems of suppliers, partners and customers begin to integrate, other benefits have gradually emerged, including More advanced warehouse management automation and faster supply chain response speed due to increased communication and low inventory.


Monolithic packaging of RFID technology in the beverage industry


There are still some difficulties in application


Now, in the field of beverages and other liquid products, the application of RFID is only limited to the level of pallets and outer packaging boxes. In theory, RFID identification should also be applied to individual packaging, but it can accurately read RFID identification on individual packaging. The technology is still immature, and these signs are more susceptible to packaging materials, product types, and the location of the logo.


technical problem


Metal containers and liquid filling containers are the two biggest problems, which makes the placement of RFID tags critical. The technical limitation is that the radio waves emitted by some standard organizations such as EPCglobal UHF (ultra high frequency) logos can be absorbed by water, and metal containers can reflect these waves back. This makes it very difficult to identify beverage products, especially beverage products packaged in aluminum cans. Now it is common to build partitions in the pallet to enhance the identification response.


Cost issue


Cost is another decisive factor. Companies that resist using RFID want to know if they can get enough returns if they invest in this technology. Another cost-related thing is the cost of labeling individual beverage containers.


RFID solutions for the beverage industry


RFID identification of beverage products and scanning of the identification need to overcome a series of difficulties. Regardless of the disadvantage of humidity, liquid products in metal cans and packaging often cause the reader to not be able to scan accurately, especially when the label is not placed correctly. In order to reduce reading errors and simplify procedures, more and more forward-looking companies have begun to develop and design special equipment for the beverage industry.


Videojet is one of them. Videojet and Accu-Sort Systems have worked together to provide a complete set of RFID application systems for packaged goods manufacturers. Including a Fast Tag device that can produce and encode RFID tags, an RFID reader provided by Accu-Sort, and a patented identification and recovery system.


Other companies such as Markem have also developed many RFID solutions suitable for beverage industry applications, providing beverage manufacturers with more choices.


Future and outlook


Although it seems that not many beverage suppliers are willing to take the RFID bus, the arrival of the RFID era is still very much anticipated. The investment recovery rate of RFID technology is not significant in the short term. Just like the bar code back then, it took 25 years of development to reach the level of application it is today. In a short period of time, most of the benefits may fall into the hands of Walmart or Albertson to improve their supply chain. For beverage suppliers, the reduction in product out-of-sale probability will also bring them great benefits. Five to ten years later, when the application of RFID technology becomes more widespread, the time has come for RFID technology to benefit mankind.

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