EPC & RFID: The New Standard in Supply Chain Tracking
Electronic Product Code, or EPC, is a relatively new RFID-based standard that tracks inventory at the item level without any visible human interaction. Items are tracked through data that is stored in RFID labels attached to the items. To do this, EPC sets aside fields that act as a serial number for each item, and as items pass through RFID readers, there information is received. Ultimately, there will be an EPC network that will act as an open system, allowing computers to sense-man-made objects and read the information on the RFID EPC labels.
However, as with most standards, EPC standards will take several years before supply chains start to fully maximize the potential of the EPC network. While some big retailers will begin to require EPC labels within a few years, it may take quite some time before it is fully implemented throughout the supply chain due to integration issues.
With newly implemented EPC regulations, the ideal of fully adopted RFID technology will become a reality, allowing for real-time tracking of inventory throughout the entire supply chain.