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RFID - Why Your Business Needs This Revolutionary Tech In 2020

Radio-Frequency Identification, or RFID, is a technology where digital data is encoded into tags or smart labels that is captured by an RFID reader via radio waves.

This technology is very similar to a barcode where the lines are scanned and the data is stored in a database, however, RFID has significant advantages over this traditional system, like the ability to have RFID data read without having to actually see the tag or label as opposed to the barcode that has to be seen to be scanned.


RFID is proving its necessity across various industries and sectors thanks to its many practical applications, such as intelligent asset management and tracking.

Consider the following scenario: A warehouse holding R2-billion worth of inventory will experience an average annual inventory loss of R400,000. This is due to factors like human error in storing inventory, theft and a lack of real-time inventory management systems.


Common practice would be to rely on accounting records to determine what inventory should be in the warehouse, but this method is almost always inaccurate and does not establish the actual inventory in storage.


The same warehouse will conduct an annual stocktaking process, usually scanning barcodes, which would take all of their staff a week to complete. That’s a week of unproductivity and further losses.


RFID solves these three challenges. By labelling items with RFID tags, inventory management becomes a much quicker and simpler process, and can even take place on a weekly basis, allowing the business to strengthen its supply chain by reacting to issues, like stock shortages, more effectively.


RFID works by having an automatic fixed-reader or a hand-held scanner broadcast a radio frequency periodically to ‘power’ the tags, receiving their data in the process which is then captured into a database.


The warehouse could choose to have their staff scan the tags quicker without having to remove boxes, find and scan barcodes, or it could opt for a more automated approach, such as flying a drone on a pre-determined path inside the warehouse. This would allow them to capture their inventory data in a matter of hours.

RFID also has applications in the healthcare, retail and education sector, among others.

Pharmacies can use RFID to keep track of the expiry dates on medication and to keep inventory levels balanced. Emergency response vehicles like an ambulance can tag all of the equipment that it carries to prevent accidents like losing equipment on scene and having to go back to find it.

Clothing retail stores can use RFID to manage the items that they keep on their shelves, allowing them to keep track of which items need to be replenished from the store room.

Libraries can also make use of RFID to make the circulation process more efficient, making the check-in and check-out process significantly faster than with the barcode system.


RFID is revolutionary and enables businesses to achieve a level of visibility that boosts productivity and minimises losses.. The value of accurate, timely data is starting to finally be acknowledged.


If you are interested in learning more about RFID or integrating RFID into your business, contact akivan@empirepartnerfoundation.org.

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