The Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) recently completed the largest and most widely-supported industry field test of RFID technology on reusable containers. After more than 160 hours of testing and more that 14,000 tests, RPA concluded that RFID tags designed for single use can be used for multiple trips without any deterioration in performance, provided the tags are positioned correctly on reusable containers.
This finding is particularly significant because it means that:
- Companies can reevaluate the ROI on RFID tags. These study results suggest that RFID technology can be a cost-effective way to track and trace reusable packaging. Obviously, the more times RFID tags can be reused, the stronger their ROI.
- For industries with products that have short shelf lives (think produce, e.g.), RFID technology on reusable packaging can improve inventory management, reducing out of stock situations and monitoring key performance indicators. Ultimately, that can lead to lower supply chain costs, improved safety processes, and greater consumer confidence with regard to product traceability (increasingly important owing to the seemingly endless stream of recalls these days).
- The combination of reusable packaging and reusable RFID tags can help companies reduce their carbon footprint and achieve sustainability goals. For example, as part of its comprehensive sustainability platform, PepsiCo has already started using new eco-friendly shipping pallets that contain embedded RFID tags. See my earlier post “Is RFID Technology Part of Your Green Supply Chain?” for a broader discussion about RFID and sustainability initiatives.
If you’re curious about more details of the RPA study, check out the FAQ at http://www.choosereusables.org/rfidfaqs.html .