Lack of inventory visibility is a problem that has existed for a long time. Barcodes have been ubiquitous in the business world long before RFID became popular. But now, retailers (and perhaps other industries) are in the midst of a transition period.
Hardgrave explained that barcodes have a lot of holes. Scanning barcodes is prone to human error. If a person pulls the trigger twice, an item will be recorded twice. It is also possible that the scanner will miss an item. Another disadvantage is that the scanner needs to see the barcode to read it. The barcode must face the reader, and the code may be scratched, damaged, or misdirected, which can affect the reading of the barcode.
Hardgrave says, “With RFID, you don’t have to look at it. You don’t have to see it. You can read thousands simultaneously.” RFID scanners can accurately determine what colors are selected and packaged. However, bar codes are cheaper, each about 0.5 cents, compared to 3 to 8 cents for an RFID tag. But if the cost is based on labor, the bar code will be more expensive in the long run.
And infrastructure is one of the barriers to implementation. RFID readers are needed in stores and warehouses. The software system is built around barcodes and UPC code. Retailers want to provide customers with services they are satisfied with. Hardgrave said: “The only way to do this is to improve inventory accuracy.” “The only way we’ve found an effective way to solve problems is with RFID. We know how it works. We know its benefits.”
Today, more and more brands are adopting RFID code and rely less on bar codes, but Hardgrave expects that the transition will take time. “Barcodes are widely used. It’s hard to change what everyone is using.” He added: “I’ve seen brand owners and manufacturers adopt RFID technology faster, but we’re also thinking about how to fix them. To ensure a good experience for our customers.”