Creating Digital DNA with RFIDBrett Wilkerson
The benefits of RFID in industries such as retail, healthcare, and manufacturing have been proven time and time again. In retail, an RFID deployment can lead to improved inventory accuracy and visibility, reduction in overstock and cycle counts, and increased customer satisfaction. In healthcare and manufacturing, RFID can increase employee accountability, improve asset utilization and visibility, help adhere to safety regulations, and enable automatic inventory re-ordering. In any industry, RFID systems are well-known to bring benefits that ultimately lead to cost savings and improved operational efficiencies.
At the same time, though, these highly recognized benefits of RFID almost always stem from its ability track inventory. This means that RFID and Internet of Things (IoT) technology has developed a somewhat limited reputation. Too many industry professionals only associate RFID with inventory tracking and being able to locate a product. At MSM Solutions, however, we know that the potential of RFID goes far beyond just tracking. The data that can be captured and stored on an RFID tag can provide all sorts of information related to the production and history of a tagged item, essentially creating an item’s “digital DNA.”
What is Digital DNA?
Digital DNA is a concept that involves tracking just about any piece of information related to a tagged asset and storing it all in the cloud. In other words, a tag can represent much more than just the item it’s attached to. For example, many retailers know that EPC encoding is important for meeting mandates, as well as for ensuring inventory and shipping accuracy, preventing counterfeiting, and automating ordering. However, an RFID tag is capable of doing much more than just assigning an electronic product code to the item it’s attached to. It could also track:
- When the item was encoded
- Who encoded it
- The plant it was encoded in and the printer that was used
- When then item was created
- Raw materials used to make the item
- Environmental factors such as humidity and temperature
- Chain of custody and exact shipping history
- Whether or not the RFID inlay used is sufficient and an approved model
Many of the RFID software or RFID printing solutions currently in use do not track this type of information. Because they’re so focused on the end benefits of the technology, too many RFID providers look past the wealth of information that can be tracked right from the start. MSM Solutions believes “it all starts with a label,” meaning that we strive to take full advantage of RFID technology – and the information it can capture – starting right at the point of encoding.
What are the Benefits?
Businesses in just about any industry can benefit from cultivating their assets’ digital DNA. For example, by knowing the digital DNA of even simple items such as a pair of socks, retailers can track down exactly when and where it was made, when and where it was encoded, who it was encoded by, whether it’s made with the correct materials, and much more. This would allow retailers to better prevent shrink, ensure shipment accuracy, improve employee accountability, and give them unprecedented visibility into their supply chain.
Digital DNA is perhaps most beneficial when it comes to high-value assets. In manufacturing, tracking all information possible regarding the creation and maintenance of an asset could vastly improve safety and ensure quality. Retailers could help ensure brand integrity and prevent the counterfeiting that often occurs with high-end retail items such as fragrances and accessories by being able to pinpoint exactly where an item came from, where it was encoded, who encoded it, and whether a false inlay was used.
Healthcare facilities can benefit from digital DNA by ensuring that expensive medical equipment is created and maintained at optimal humidity and other environmental requirements. For food production, digital DNA could even tell you which animal or field a food product came from.
MSM Solutions’ PortalTrack for Digital DNA
MSM Solutions is one of the only RFID providers that aims to give our customers the end-to-end benefits that RFID can provide. Our PortalTrack software helps form any asset’s digital DNA by capturing all sorts of information right at the point of encoding. By capturing more information than any other provider and storing it in the cloud, we can give businesses unprecedented insight into the creation and history of their inventory and assets, allowing them to fully optimize their operations and maintain the integrity of their brand. Contact us today to find out more about digital DNA and how it can help you.