How RFID Empowers Just-in-Time Material Movement

Feb 07, 2023

Just-in-time (JIT) inventory management is one of the most popular inventory management methods in today’s supply chain. Unlike other methods, JIT allows manufacturers and distributors to produce and store orders as needed, eliminating overproduction and unsalable stock. While extremely effective in minimizing carrying and storage costs, JIT material handling becomes complicated when dealing with volatile customer demand.


Shifting demand complicates accurate forecasting. At the end of 2022, major retailers reported sudden inventory changes to accommodate slowing consumer demands. Companies like Walmart and Target were among big retailers to cancel orders and reduce pricing in an attempt to clear out surplus stock. While consumer demands may change seemingly overnight, supply chains require more time to adjust. As a result, it is difficult to estimate the accurate amount of needed inventory, thus risking overstocking and/or stockouts.


Amplifying Inventory Control with RFID

Unlike pencil-and-paper systems, RFID tracking provides real-time visibility of your inventory. Furthermore, strategically placed beacons and readers can enable in-motion tracking, giving teams a clear picture of current stock counts and possible stockouts. Although the advantages of RFID extend beyond material movement, it is worth highlighting relevant benefits RFID brings to inventory control:

  • Capture demand patterns for greater forecasting accuracy – Scanned data is transmitted to your shared database, allowing teams to note purchase patterns and seasonal demands. When coupled with AI systems, RFID can be used to project possible demand so you can order the correct amount of inventory.
  • Prevent stockouts from affecting the bottom line – JIT replenishment requires a clear view of stock levels. Real-time systems can alert teams when stock dips below an established threshold, so your team can quickly replenish shelves before they run out.
  • Communicate with the rest of the supply chain – Real-time visibility empowers you to create an accurate replenishment schedule for just-in-time material movement. Schedules may be shared with manufacturers to make sure products are delivered on time.


Starting Your RFID Solution

Real-time locationing systems must be carefully tested before implementation to avoid complexities and bottlenecks in the future. While unique facilities may require more testing and piloting than others, we generally recommend expecting the following process when starting an RFID solution:

  • Evaluate your space and workflows with a connectivity team to pinpoint constraints such as high ceilings, dense walls, and metal racks. A proactive approach to space challenges gives your team a chance to avoid interference and match your workforce to the technologies they need.
  • Assess possible systems that streamline current workflows to prevent long-lasting disruptions. Next-generation RFID readers can consolidate data scanning, reporting, and even push-to-talk communication through one user-friendly platform. During this time, we are also able to design an RFID label to match application and storage requirements, further eradicating hiccups.
  • Pilot your solution before mass deployment to verify your team’s comfort level and any missed details. Test major workflows such as product receiving, order fulfillment, and reverse logistics to make sure your tracking system runs smoothly in different scenarios.
  • Adjust your system as needed to meet new supply chain challenges such as spikes in demand, labor shortages, and even new connectivity options. To seamlessly update your technology, it is best to work with a dedicated support team since they can simplify rollouts and provide on-site training to alleviate your IT team from implementation burdens.


Major retailers have already noticed the benefits of working with RFID. Many stores now require suppliers to use RFID tracking in hopes to reduce stockouts. As consumer behavior continues to shift, innovative technologies like RFID help businesses navigate change while thriving in the Digital Age. For more information about RFID solutions, contact our automation teams and schedule a preliminary workflow evaluation to get started.