RFID or (Radio Frequency Identification) is a technology that allows almost any object to be wirelessly identified and communicated with using data transmitted via radio waves. This technology can be likened to barcodes but with several advantages, and even better – some of these advantages can increase the sustainability of your business too!
When making business decisions, there are an array of environmental, social, and economic factors that business owners need to consider. With the ever-evolving climate crisis, businesses are urged now, more than ever, to integrate sustainable practices into their operations.
So, how can RFID technology support sustainability?
RFID technology helps to reduce overproduction and overstocking
The access to real-time information that RFID systems provide means that businesses know exactly how many products they have in stock at any one time, they know exactly what production requirements they have and don’t make more than is needed.
Using RFID for inventory management allows businesses to control their stock levels and their consequent waste caused by overstocking.
In addition, RFID provides businesses with the ability to have true Just-in-Time manufacturing, whereby production lines or even entire facilities can be optimised to only run when absolutely required, thereby reducing the use of many vital resources such as gas and electricity.
RFID can significantly reduce food waste
Within a food retail setting, RFID technology includes things like temperature sensors and portal systems which alert store staff to perishable goods that are approaching critical temperature levels or goods in storage that should be on the shelf.
With the use of handheld RFID readers, retailers can ensure that products with the soonest expiry date are at the front of the shelf.
It is this, combined with the improvements to supply chain management that enable RFID systems to have a significant impact on the reduction of food waste and the income lost by it.
RFID can reduce transportation and related CO2 emissions
Research has suggested that, for many businesses, the supply chain is responsible for the bulk of their environmental impact, and RFID technology can play an essential role in making an organisations supply chain more efficient and sustainable.
Having access to real-time information and consequently more efficient stock control, provides a significantly reduced need for the rapid or last-minute transportation of goods and components via air, a significant contributor to the reduction of carbon emissions and the optimisation of resources. Instead, more efficient transportation, such as sea crates can be used, which not only reduces the impact on the environment, but additionally lowers cost!
RFID supports conscious consumerism
Conscious consumerism is a growing trend whereby consumers want to know that the products they are using are ethically and sustainably sourced. Businesses that use RFID technology can provide that reassurance by being able to demonstrate traceability and authenticity.
RFID tags are reusable
Unlike printed barcodes, RFID tags can be easily reused, especially on containers that are returnable. This can save businesses thousands on printing and labelling costs.
The more environmentally conscious that consumers become, the more that this will feature in their decision-making process when buying goods and services.
Suppliers that are aligned with this will reap the benefits further down the line and it will be those that drive sustainability through their supply chain that will have the most success.
Harnessing the benefits of RFID technology in support of sustainability processes will get them even closer to their sustainability goals, something that is important for both the organisation, and the planet.