You have finally realized that Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) inventory technology is better for your operations than basic barcodes. Perhaps you have a busy warehouse where workers need to be able to read the data on many items quickly and at the same time without directly lining up their scanners with barcodes. Whatever your business, RFID is an efficient and cost effective solution.
However, you do have another decision to make. Are you going to use active or passive RFID tags? An IntelliTrack professional can help you select the right solution for you. To prepare for a discussion, consider these factors:
- Data communication
The active RFID tag is on duty all the time and can initiate communication with the reader. For example, it can use sensors to monitor environmental condition such as temperature or humidity and send alerts to the reader. Data transmission in the passive RFID tag needs to be requested by the reader.
- Data integrity
A full automated active RFID solution can ensure accurate, complete, real time data as it is working all the time. This is particularly useful if inventory loss or misplacement is an issue.
Both active and passive RFID tags use radio frequency energy to speak with the readers but different strengths are required. Because the active tag has an internal battery power source that is working all the time, its reader can use a low level signal to access data. However, a passive RFID tag has no internal power so needs a strong high level signal from the reader to engage data transmission.
Active RFID tags cost anywhere from three to 100% more that passive tags. However, a handheld reader for the active RFID technology is half the price of a passive handheld and 1/10th the price of installing a fixed position portal reader for passive RFID tags. There is also a high labor cost for passive tags as workers have to actually be waving their readers near the items to activate data transmission. In a large operation, this means more work with its increased cost.
- Movement of items
Active RFID technology works well for high volume in a designated area, especially in a dynamic operation. Passive RFID tags are adequate for high volume that has predictable areas of backlog.
The ROI of RFID technology really depends on the needs of your particular business. If accurate, real time data is essential and labor is expensive, you will want an active RFID tag system. It will pay for itself quickly. However, if you can afford more employees per square foot and have the time for them to initiate data transmission, a passive RFID tag solution will serve you well.
If you are not familiar with the most up to date RFID technology, it is time to contact IntelliTrack. An inventory management specialist can work with you to review your operations, identify your needs and discuss the pros and cons of both active RFID tags and passive RFID tags. Then you will be ready to make an informed decision that will support your operations for the long term.
Contact the IntelliTrack team to start the conversation.