4 Steps Every Distributor Should Take to Comply with RFID Requirements

May 4, 2023

Sponsored by Zebra

Fast-paced supply chain operations have no time for inaccurate stock counts. Consequently, leading retailers like Macy’s, Target, and Nordstrom now require distributors to identify products with RFID tags, raising inventory accuracy rates to 96% while reducing stockouts. Furthermore, unlike traditional tracking systems and barcoding technologies, RFID technologies have produced a 10-15% labor reduction since teams can capture more codes at once and locate products in real time via a mobile device. As businesses continue to grapple with fluctuating labor shortages and supply disruptions, mandated RFID tagging is expected to become increasingly more common since it provides agile adaptability along with:

  • In-motion tracking
  • Faster cycle counting
  • Real-time storage monitoring
  • Reduced product shrinkage

Last September, Walmart began to enforce its own RFID requirement where tags must be 100% readable in a variety of product types ranging from home goods to electronics. While the kick-off date is long past, it is not too late to optimize RFID tracking for seamless compliance. To improve inventory management with real-time visibility, it is recommended that you:

  1. Identify potential blind spots within your space – Space constraints such as metal racks and competing connectivity points can result in dropped signals and slow connections. Therefore, solution providers recommend assessing your network before implementing RFID to target possible challenges.
  2. Print RFID tags at your facility – By integrating an RFID printer, labels, and inlays upfront, you can prevent downtime as replenishment is needed. Zebra’s certified RFID tags are fully customizable, enabling you to design a label that meets unique requirements while staying within your budget.
  3. Tag products before they leave your workplace – To prevent missed compliance, lost inventory, and downtime, manufacturers are encouraged to tag products immediately after production. Likewise, distributors can coordinate with manufacturers to verify tagging for incoming products to prevent future errors.
  4. Streamline data capture and computing in one system – Complex systems can hinder operations with stalled productivity and excessive training. Nevertheless, tech innovators assist in simplifying integration with easy-to-use handheld devices. Mobile computers like Zebra’s MC3390R combine data capture, push-to-talk communication, and enterprise data computing to empower decision-making from anywhere in your facility.

The RFID revolution has only begun. With distributors expecting higher SKU proliferation and labor pools constantly changing, real-time tracking is set to prove indispensable in the Digital Age. Learn how you can optimize your RFID tracking system with BCI’s automation specialists and stay a step ahead of the competition while remaining compliant.