printDATA are product traceability experts. Contact us today on 08 9361 6777 to find out how we can help.
What is product traceability?
Product traceability, sometimes called track and trace, is the ability to monitor the location and status of an item. This can be the location of a company truck, following the journey of a consignment across the country, or just finding a piece of equipment on a work site.
The scale varies, as does the technology, but the core value of product traceability is having the real-time location of company property immediately available. So, how does product traceability work and, more importantly, which is right for your business?
The kinds of products being tracked will determine the kind of technology mix that can be used. The solution for one product might not be the solution for another. Below we will look the different kinds of track and trace technology that exists, which printDATA can help implement at your business.
Global Positioning System (GPS) trackers
A GPS tracker uses satellites and mobile phone towers to accurately track its position. These can be fitted to products so that you have a real-time map of where they currently are, and have been. This kind of technology is expensive and lends itself more to fleet maintenance and security than for smaller consignments or products. Versions of this technology are used by emergency services, major shipping companies and Government departments with fleets of vehicles.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
RFID is a very common form of track and trace, typically in retail spaces. RFID is implemented in the form of small tags that can be placed on products. These tags can be encoded with product information, for sorting and cataloguing or used as a security measure. If a product with an RFID tag is taken through a RFID gate, it will set off an alarm. This kind of technology mix is perfect for tracking items within a facility or campus. Public Libraries in Australia have begun using RFID for stock maintenance purposes and to offer a better service to customers. Hospitals may also use RFID technology to track medical equipment, in case it is urgently needed.
Wi-Fi track and trace is very similar to RFID, with the exception that it can work in the absence of RFID tags. This depends on the product being tracked, if it can maintain a wi-fi connection without additional hardware. Alternatively, wi-fi tags can be used that are similar to RFID tags. The big difference is that wi-fi tracking can be used to find the exact location of product within a facility through wireless network coverage, whereas RFID relies on the product coming into contact with an RFID reader. Wi-fi tracking is a good middle point between RFID tracking and GPS tracking, it has a higher setup cost than RFID but lower than GPS. It is also only effective within the wi-fi range of the building or campus that wi-fi tracking is being used in. Once the tag is out of range, it can’t be tracked unless the product comes back into the wi-fi coverage.
Which is right for my business?
When it comes to picking the right track and trace technology for your business, printDATA can help. We don’t make blanket recommendations, instead, we will work with you to find the right technology mix that fits your requirements and budget. We can then assist with implementation, training, and monitoring to ensure it works as intended.
Call printDATA today on 08 9361 6777 and let us help you choose the perfect product traceability solution for you.