The Auto ID Technologies That Create a Globalized Supply Chain

The physical and time related end-to-end supply chain employs a number of AutoID (Automatic Identification) technologies in a variety of different ways, from those that are holistic in their effect, and others that are applied to supply chain segments distinctly. Some of these technologies could be considered as quite simple, while there are others that are more complex and sophisticated, being programmed to utilize satellite navigation in order to determine location and supply time related information, even taking current weather patterns into account. Here are four of the most important AutoID technologies that are in use today:

Barcoding is a technology that has been a part of the supply chain for longer than most. However, it is continually evolving, with the latest 2D tags being an example of this. It is still as widely used as ever, but it is also beginning to be defined by it’s limitations, such as limited quantities of information and the capability of barcode readers. Barcodes are under increasing pressure as the supply chain becomes more globalized.

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is the technology to that overcomes the limitation of the barcode, mostly due to the fact that the tags can be scanned at a greater distance. RFID builds upon the concept of barcoding by utilizing the digital technology of today, providing capacity to identify items individually, without line of sight, in multiples and over distances ranging from centimeters to meters.

RFID can carry a large amount of complex information about a single product, which can tell a lot about it’s journey and condition, though it is still limited in the context of a globalized supply chain.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) helps users to define exactly where a product is at any given time. It is owned by the US, and relies on satellite technology to provide positioning, navigation and timing, (PNT) regardless of weather conditions and location on earth. The military and government, as well as logistics providers, utilize it. It is supported by 24 satellites, which transmit one-way signals in order to obtain GPS satellite positioning information.

RTLS (Real-Time Locating System) is also vital for a globalized supply chain. It is used to locate people or objects in real time, usually specific to a building or other types of containment. It depends on wireless RTLS tags being fitted to objects in order that they can be tracked; the tags transmit wireless signals to make this possible.

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