Reflection Paper: Supply Chains, Logistics and RFIDs

909 words | 4 page(s)

The global supply chain ensures that individuals from almost anywhere in the world can access products from anywhere in the world. The global supply chain is formed by the steps taken to bring a local product to the global market. Supply chain management is now seen as the ultimate competitive advantage, as there are no limits as to where on sources products or even labor. The global market is dynamic, therefore supply chain management needs to monitor and be aware of trends in their area of interest to ensure that they have the benefits of new opportunities.

Efficient supply chain management ensures that raw materials and labor are sourced from the most competitive firm. This can mean that a product comes from the raw material of one country, is processed or assembled in another and then sold around the world. In this manner specialization occurs which ensures that there is expertise and quality which stands out in the market. Efficient shipping and transportation is the key to efficient management of the supply chain. In fact, most manufactured products today involve multiple nations in the process of their creations.

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Logistics is an aspect of efficient supply chain management which can’t be understated. Without the cost effective and safe transit of products from the source to multiple locations most of the products we use every day would not be available. Everything from packaging to form of transportation to weather can be important in logistics. Logistics does not work on convenience, but rather on deadlines, working backwards to ensure that what is needed is available when it is needed by mapping routing and storage to ensure that stores have the stock for sale.

Logistics at the GVT Group of Logistics is taken very seriously. They manage ports and receiving points for various forms of shipping as well as modes of transport, routes and warehousing. Central planning is responsible for booking routes within the shipping and transportation infrastructure, which includes six dedicated barges. This is clearly very big business, of the type which powers the global supply chain.

Radio frequency identification device or RFIDs are a high tech way to keep track of anything and everything using a GPS locating tag. It can find a specific item, or report on a shipment or collection. These wireless barcodes are composed of an antenna or coil, a decoder/receiver and a transponder radio frequency tag which holds the unique information for that tag. When an RFID tag passes through a scanner, the scanner can capture the information about where the tag was. Following palettes, for example, is a common use of RFIDs. Companies can use it to easily track assets, tools and inventory.

RFIDs are obviously a very useful technology to use in logistics. It solves four typical problems in logistics and supply chain management: timely movement of product, ignorance regarding inventory levels, errors in repetitive tasks and capacity staging for routing. RFIDs provide a solution to each of these issues. It allows for coordination and routing in alignment with capacity, it can provide continuous and dynamic information about inventory, it streamlines process and reduced errors in repetitive processes and allows for easier staging.

RFID also has many uses in manufacturing, and they resolve three main problems in the manufacturing process: ensuring efficient input coordination, making activity and movements of goods clear and preventative maintenance based on dynamic triggers. This can reduce waste of resources including labor and raw product as well as decreasing costs of storage and downtown due to unexpected breakdowns.

RFID has played an important role in hospitals. It allows for close monitoring and tracking of mobile assets such as specialized machinery or even wheelchairs as well as optimum patient flow. By eliminating the wasted time searching for assets, the assets are used more often and are more valuable to the healthcare organization. It can also reduce rental costs of such equipment, as less is needed to do more, given the smart management of the RFID tags. Optimum patient flow helps to reduce risks as well as ensure the utilization of capacity.

RFIDs has been used in the oil and gas industry to resolve four problems: safety of people through the RFID tagging of individuals and mapping where they should be, locating assets, triggering preventative maintenance based on process flags and monitoring staff movements. This significantly improves the risk profile of this business and ensures there is the best possible capitalization of assets.

When UHF based RFID tags are placed on metal, there are not read by the wireless scanning device. In order to overcome this problem, manufacturers of RFID tags have come up with a variety of solutions. Given that there is also a variety of performance and prices, it is important that the appropriate RFID tag is chosen for someone’s needs.

It seems like it is only a matter of time before RFID tags are used in general society for everyday uses such as finding ones keys and cell phone. It may be that the solutions for global supply management become the solutions for the individual who is just trying to stay organized. While currently the RFID solution is in the domain of big business as complex processes of supply chain management and logistics, the low cost and east to use software is sure to become the basis for home based used in the near future, even if it is only for the purpose of finding the remote.

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