July 2, 2014

Did You Know? Using Radio Frequency ID Tech for Warehouse Automation

Did you know?  More distributors are starting to use RFID (Radio Frequency ID) technology to automate their warehouse functions, and the need for your full packaging information in the IDW is growing.  Distributors are turning to warehouse management systems (WMS) to automate their operations, and  use bar codes throughout their warehouse is such areas as bins, shelves, slots and racks .  Products identified with bar codes on the unit, box, case, pallet enable the use of RF bar code readers to scan the product ID and direct the distributor’s receiving and put away processes. The product information read by these scanners is automatically transferred to the distributor’s integrated WMS and ultimately directs the distributor’s receiving and put away processes. This use of RFID technology saves time, reduces errors, and makes products available for sale more quickly.

As RFID technology begins to be implemented more widely, the need for manufacturers’ full packaging information in the IDW increases, to accommodate this technology. Most items in the IDW already have limited packaging information, such as a “unit” or “each” level Global Trade Identification Numbers (GTIN), derived from the UPC or EAN numbers. RFID technology, however, requires full packaging information. For example, an item’s packaging hierarchy should be complete, and manufacturers should populate GTINs for those packaging levels above the “unit” or “each” level to include the bar code number on each package type (e.g. piece, sub-pack, pack, master pack, pallet, etc.), as applicable. 

A manufacturer’s packaging hierarchy not only provides distributors with the unique product ID for each of a manufacturer’s products; it also enables manufacturers to populate the weight and dimensions for their products. Such information helps their distributors design rack space allotments or cube out a truckload shipment, allowing for a more efficient ordering process for both trading partners.

For more information on how to populate GTINs in the IDW, please contact idwsupport@idea4industry.com

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