RFID vs Barcode

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Barcode vs RFIDWhen considering converting a warehouse system to a new supply chain solution, one decision to be made is whether to go with barcodes or radio frequency identification (RFID). Being able to compare them side by side may help that decision making process.

Radio Frequency Identification

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) are tags that are placed on products that contain every bit of information necessary to best utilize that particular product.

RFID systems do not require line-of-site scanning. A scanning device can be anywhere within a specified distance and can read up to 800 tags per second.

Each tag can hold vast amounts of information, making them ideal for almost every use. They can provide transit information and inform the user of exactly where any particular item has been within the system. It can also tell the exact contents to ensure proper handling.

Tags can monitor temperature and bacteria levels and can automatically detect events without having to inspect every item.

Due to the unique way of embedding information in the tag, it is virtually impossible to copy. This makes RFID suitable for security applications such as ID cards.

Each tag is made out of plastic material that makes its very durable and virtually indestructible. The tags can withstand even the harshest conditions including extreme temperatures and can be adhered to most materials. Since there is no scanning involved, the tags can become dirty without interrupting the transmission to the readers.

While there are many pros to introducing this type of system into the current warehouse management, there are just a couple cons.

There is a considerable initial investment, but will pay for itself over time due to less labor and loss of revenue from misplaced/miscounted data as well as out of stock items.

Due to the copper antennae of the tag, placing the tag on any other metal service or on a container containing water, may interrupt transmission to the reader.

Rfid Tags


Barcodes have been around for much longer than RFID and can be found on almost all products in retail shops and grocery stores. Once a barcode is created, any barcode reader anywhere in the world, can read it and extract the information that is encoded onto it.

Each barcode is printed on a sticker to be placed on each bin. If these stickers get damaged or dirty, it may be hard for the reader to interpret the barcode. However, barcodes are very easy to recreate if damaged. If a barcode gets too worn, it is easy to print a new one to be placed on the bin.

Barcodes require a line-of-site readings. A staff member with a handheld must manually scan each item at every phase.

Doing a side by side comparison of RFID vs Barcodes, it is easy to see which is best suited for your individual warehouse. To find out how to implement one of these solutions into your business get in touch with the form below:

Justin Velthoen

Justin Velthoen

Justin Velthoen has 20 years of supply chain experience, from food distribution to manufacturing, to systems management and implementation. His primary focus is helping businesses realize the cost savings directly to their bottom line.

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