RFID Automation with BCC Distribution

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology provides real-time and fully automated data collection for unmatched accuracy that elevates business systems, devices, tags and worker for many  inventory and asset tracking operations. From production floors, to warehouses, to complex distribution center environments, reliable RFID is not only possible, it’s now practical and well within reach. When supplementing a barcode scanning system, RFID technology has tremendous value and can automate inventory data collection and real-time analytics, especially when integrated with your SAP business system. At BCC Distribution, we provide comprehensive end-to-end RFID solutions essential for successfully incorporating automated data collection technology into nearly any business environment… be it SAP S/4HANA or another ERP system. Done right, barcode scanning and RFID solutions are complementary technologies to streamline and simplify business workflow.

Barcode Scanning versus RFID Technology

Knowing the key differences between barcode scanning solutions and RFID automation technology is important when deciding which solution to integrate with your business environment. Depending on your company goals, working environment, and inventory procedures, the ideal approach may be either a barcode scanning solution, RFID system, or a hybrid approach (combination of both technologies) to meet your specific business requirements for inventory process improvement.

RFID is a wireless, non-contact use of radio frequency waves to transfer data and identify objects such as parts, assets, pallets, and much more. RFID systems are typically comprised of an RFID reader, RFID tags, and antennas to start. Supplementing the equipment components, RFID software is instrumental in parsing and instantly transmitting data to/from the business system. RFID is very similar to scanning a barcode in how the action of pushing a button triggers scanning and reading data from a barcode object on a label. From there, the similarities change and RFID becomes significantly more capable, as well as potentially complex. Unlike barcode scanning, RFID does not require line-of-sight to capture and collect key data from a RFID tag, such as a material number. Meaning, the RFID tagged item may be hidden in a box, in the center of a stacked pallet, or on a shelf behind other items. Additionally, a RFID system can support capturing data from many RFID tagged items in seconds. A common example being reading and capturing all the materials on a pallet that’s being loaded on a truck.

Another key difference is that a RFID system may be implemented requiring no user interaction and supporting full business system automation. Whether triggered by a physical sensor or being “always on”, RFID system design and business value is maximized by removing the need for physical user interaction.

There are several differences between barcode scanning and RFID automated data collection. With that said, both approaches support SAP-integration, utilize technology-specific hardware, and require various levels of user interaction to accurately count inventory, load trucks, track shipments, and manage working environments. At BCC Distribution, your company will find everything it needs for the successful design and integration of a RFID solution that meets your asset or inventory tracking requirements.

RFID Components

For an effective and efficient RFID system for any business environment, you’ll need product-matched RFID labels or tags, mobile or fixed RFID readers and antennas, and data processing software compatible with both the RFID system and for integration with your business system application. Each RFID component is essential for a complete and reliable RFID system that will increase productivity and optimize warehouse operations.

RFID Labels and RFID Tags

RFID tags and labels are affixed to inventory parts, assets, and other objects that your company needs to keep track of. RFID labeling is a science of its own, and potentially the most important aspect of a RFID system in order to maintain business value and keep ongoing costs low. Plus, RFID labels and tags have a plethora of available options. From a simple pre-encoded 4” x 6” pallet UHF RFID label, to an aerospace-level RFID permanent tag that records maintenance history. All RFID tags are not created equal, and counterfeit RFID tags can occasionally be a security or reliability concern.  BCC Distribution leans on industry leading RFID label producers to ensure that every RFID tag commissioned and applied to your inventory performs as expected.

RFID Printers

Your RFID system will depend on reliable data. Reliable data originates, or is commissioned, at the printer level. And with nearly every business using some form or document and/or barcoding label printing today, printing and encoding of RFID labels is a natural next step. Plus, many RFID applications will want to maintain current human readable and barcode data to provide for system redundancy. Partnering with industry leaders in RFID printing and tag validation, BCC Distribution is able to offer a wide range of RFID printers to accurately print and encode RFID labels, tags, and cards where and when you need them.

  • Distribution
  • Shipping and Receiving
  • Work-in-Progress (WIP) Tracking
  • Back-of-Store Operations
  • Compliance Labeling
  • Product Idenitification / Serial Numbers
  • Security Tagging
  • Specimen / Laboratory / Pharmacy Labeling
  • Cross Docking
  • Inventory Management
  • Asset Tracking
  • Receiving / Put-Away Labeling
  • Order Picking / Packing

RFID Readers and Antennas

Together in a passive RFID system, RFID readers and antennas work together to emit radio waves to energize, interrogate and collect data from RFID tags or labels. RFID antennas are connected to the RFID readers, either one-to-one or multiple antennas to a single reader, creating an RFID portal or gateway. Fixed RFID systems are strategically positioned in the working environment, often at a pass-through doorway or bottleneck, so as to funnel inventory through the configured RFID fixed reader portal. There are also mobile RFID readers, that include an embedded antenna, that are handheld and can be utilized to scan for RFID tags and labels at the point of execution. Depending on your business needs and warehouse environment, your company may benefit from use of either or a hybrid RFID system using multiple types of RFID technologies.

  • Handheld RFID Readers and RFID-Enabled Devices
  • Fixed RFID Readers and Infrastructure
  • RFID Antennas
  • Integrated RFID Portals for Gateways
  • Mobilized RFID Control Systems

RFID Data Processing Software

Lastly, RFID systems require hardware-specific utilities and RFID data processing software to facilitate data collection, parsing, and integration with a client’s business system or centralized database. At BCC Distribution, our RFID systems are designed to be compatible with direct integration into our client’s SAP software, or with a flexible centralized database approach (such as SQL) for maximum business environment optimization. When paired together, BCC Distribution’s RFID software and services solution enables your business to collect and synchronize data with SAP software or another ERP system for fully automated data collection solution to optimize inventory traceability and warehouse management.

Handheld and Fixed RFID.

Essential RFID Equipment Available at BCC Distribution

BCC Distribution has end-to-end RFID solutions, from hardware and software to full system implementation services and a wide variety of RFID labels and tags. This centralizes your RFID go-to so your company can solve inventory tracking challenges quickly. At BCC Distribution, you’ll find certified and essential RFID equipment that your business needs to simplify warehouse workflow and automation.

Fixed RFID Readers

Fixed RFID readers from Zebra, Honeywell, and top RFID manufacturers help you attain maximum inventory and asset visibility in the warehouse and on the production floor. Achieve maximum asset visibility, faster and simpler inventory management, and real-time flow of goods with visibility into asset or inventory movements. Get even more insights with Zebra’s RFID Array Reader, which offers advanced technology that pinpoints the exact location of all your tagged assets, even if they’re on the move. 

Handheld RFID Readers

From warehouses and loading docks to production and work-in-process environments, handheld RFID readers and RFID-enabled devices help enable your material handlers with the data collection capabilities to achieve maximum visibility for your enterprise assets. Engineered to withstand demanding work environments, Zebra and Honeywell mobile RFID scanners increase supply chain efficiency and worker productivity, and  increase the chance of reading incidence for optimal accuracy.

RFID Reader Antennas

In combination with Zebra and Honeywell fixed readers, RFID antennas deliver high-throughput, high-volume communication, enabling companies to capture, move, and manage critical information to and from every point of business activity. RFID reader antennas sense RFID-tagged items and automate data processing with fixed RFID readers for fast system updating without time-consuming and error prone user interaction.

RFID Software

At BCC Distribution, we can tailor and implement a fully featured RFID application for direct integration with your SAP S/4HANA ERP system. If your business is exploring the business case for RFID automation, BCC Distribution can provide proof of concept (POC) / proof of technology (POT) for a RFID software solution using a stand-alone or centralized SQL database for versatile reporting and business system integration. RFID software is an essential system component for collection, reconciling, and recording data received by the RFID equipment, updating the database or the SAP software, and providing essential metrics for inventory or assets within the business.

RFID label design, printing, and encoding software is another key component of an RFID system for commissioning (or activating) a RFID label, directly associating data in the RFID tag to the SAP material or asset it is designed to identify. With BarTender RFID label design and printing software, creating an RFID object is just as easy as creating a barcode. Simply select the object and drop it onto your label design. The outline of the RFID chip, antenna, and substrate will appear to help visualize the RFID inlay placement for optimal label design and printing. BarTender’s built-in antenna coding and business rules help you create smart RFID labels that comply with your industry’s standards and create interoperability with your end-user clients or vendors. Design a custom RFID label format or choose from RFID ready templates:

  • Department of Defense (DoD)
  • GDTI
  • GIAI
  • GID
  • GRAI
  • GSR
  • SGLN
  • SSCC
  • SGLN

RFID Printer Encoders

RFID printer encoders allow businesses to identify, track, manage, and optimize assets by printing human readable information (alpha-numeric text), barcodes, and encoding RFID data into (Gen 2) UHF RFID tags and labels. The printed text provides quick user identification, the barcode provides redundancy for use of barcode scanners (mobile or fixed-mount), and the encoded data enables automated data collection via the available handheld or fixed RFID system. Utilization of BarTender software enables any business to propagate your label’s RFID, barcode, and human readable information quickly and easily onto the label, from a single source.

Don’t have and not planning to purchase a RFID enabled printer? No problem. Turn your existing Zebra label printers into a RFID printer by removing your stock labels and loading BCCD-certified RFID labels into your existing printer and continue printing required text and barcodes. BCC Distribution’s mobile and fixed RFID solutions support down-stream RFID tag validation, encoding, and commissioning of the EPC data to match what’s printed on the label, and in the ERP or business system.

RFID Services

BCC Distribution is an industry leader for SAP end-to-end RFID services and solutions. RFID can enable real-time and cost-efficient inventory management and warehouse tracking through utilization of RFID tags and labels, RFID software, RFID printers, RFID readers, and BCC Distribution’s expert technical RFID services. 

RFID Labels, Tags, and Supplies

It all starts with the label! Successful implementation of a RFID solution requires the right RFID labels, tags, or RFID ready documents to match the application and specific business process. At BCC Distribution, we’ll partner together with your IT and business operations to identify the ideal RFID labeling options. BCC Distribution offers custom RFID labels and tags, as well as stock and pre-tested RFID tags. Other essential RFID label considerations include the label adhesive, inlays, scan distance, memory, and material in which the RFID tag is affixed. BCC Distribution is prepared to be your source of all things RFID to streamline warehouse productivity and inventory operations.

RFID Products at BCC Distribution

At BCC Distribution, we continuously evaluate that latest selection of RFID products to cost effectively streamline and automate manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution operations. We partner with the trusted names in the RFID industry so your company can be confident in meeting accuracy goals, RFID read rate expectations, and maintaining a low total cost of ownership. 

Zebra RFID

  • MC3330R/MC3330xR for Standard-Range Data Capture of RFID Tags
  • MC3390R/MC3390xR for Long-Range Data Capture
  • Zebra RFD90 Ultra-Rugged UHF RFID Sleds RFD40 UHF RFID Sleds
  • Zebra ST5500 Transition Reader Zebra FX9600 Fixed RFID Reader
  • Zebra Wide-Band and Ultra Rugged RFID Antennas
  • Zebra SR5502 Warehouse Antenna Zebra Integrated RFID Portals
  • ZT600 Series Industrial RFID Printers
  • ZT400 Series Tabletop RFID Printer Encoders
  • ZT411 On-Metal Tagging Solution
  • ZT200 Series Value Based RFID Printer/Encoders
  • Zebra ZQ630 Plus RFID Mobile Printer
  • Zebra ZE500R RFID Print Engines for Print & Apply RFID Label Applicators
  • RFID Labels & Tags

Honeywell (Intermec) RFID

  • Honeywell IF2B Fixed RFID Reader
  • Honeywell / Intermec IP30 Add-On Passive UHF RFID Handle
  • Honeywell IH45 RFID Reader for Warehousing, T&L, and Manufacturing
  • Honeywell RFID Readers
  • Intermec RFID Antennas
  • Forklift-Mounted Mobile RFID Systems

Implementing RFID with BCC Distribution

At BCC Distribution, your company will find everything it needs for a RFID solution implementation, be it for the warehouse, outbound shipping and loading dock environments, production floors and work in process (WIP), and more. From custom RFID solutions to supplementing your existing barcoding scanning system, our RFID expertise and capabilities are effective at increasing productivity and optimizing workflows across many different industries and business applications. Contact us so we can design an RFID solution unique to your business needs.