In our last post, we talked about stationary Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) readers, the ones that stay attached to the ceiling or wall. But although the hands-free system has quite a few powerful features, it isn’t the only way to improve your inventory management. If you want something lighter, cheaper, and still have the ability to locate items, then the hand-held system is great as well.
What is the handheld RFID system?
The hand-held system works on the same basic principles as all other RFID. The reader sends out radio waves that activate a tag and are sent back to the reader. In this case though, the reader is carried around by an employee. Time to go mobile!
The hand-held reader is pointed at the tags that the employee wants read, then picks up the tag’s signature and stores the location on the reader. So the retailer might set up zones within the store, such as display, dressing rooms, back stock, and POS. When the reader is brought within several feet of the merchandise in the dressing rooms, it will read out each of the items in the dressing room and store them in that location on the reader. After the employee finishes their walk through of the store (or just whichever location they want to update), they can upload the file to the server and gain an overview on where each item is in the store. This greatly increases the accuracy and efficiency of taking inventory. With standard inventory management, retailers would take all day once or twice a year to count everything. With RFID, it can be done twice a week in the fifteen minutes before the store opens.
Beyond twice a week inventory capabilities, the hand-held system allows retailers to quickly locate specific items. From the dashboard, an employee can send a specific item or items to the handheld reader. Using that handheld reader, they can follow the geiger counter to the item, quickly finding the exact item(s) needed. The ping counter is shown below.
As the ping counter increases, the employee is closer to the item. This intuitive feature allows items to be quickly found, driving sales and increasing customer satisfaction.
This cheaper, more mobile version of RFID is perfect for smaller stores who want to try out the technology and don’t need full scale passive tracking. It requires minimal training and can change inventory time from a nightmare to the powerful pillar of retail that it is.