Supply Chain Network Software 1 – RFID Readers

The first grouping of software functionality required to bring your supply chain network hardware to life relates specifically to the RFID readers.

The three main functionalities are:

– Reader Management software
– Reader Identification software
– Data Management software (middleware)

Each will now be briefly reviewed to provide you with a better idea of what is required for succes in this case from a pure functionality perspective.

Reader Management software

Any mid size to large supply chain network will contain anywhere from 50 readers up to 1000 readers or more in an extended retail supply chain network. Reader management software is designed to connect to all of these readers and monitor their status and correct any reader or coverage issues.

Ensure the product you select monitors reader status in a number of ways including decremental performance to give you a heads up when a reader is having issues so they can be resolved prior to an outage taking place.

Reader Identification software

One of the most important aspects of reader management is identification and if you’re following global standards, will likely involve assigning Global Location Numbers to each reader based on location within your GLN enterprise hierarchy. (See Defining Place in Your Supply Chain for more details on this). For now just ensure you acquire the software functionality which allows you to uniquely identify all readers in your supply chain network using this methodology.
Data Management software (middleware)

Data Management Software (middleware)

RFID reader networks generate tons of data on a continuous basis and all of this data must be managed by a middleware platform to ensure host enterprise systems are not swamped by this voluminous amount of data.

Based on specific project experience, there are a number of issues which must be taken into account when establishing a middleware platform including the development of rules relative to the number of times an individual read of a tag are delivered to the host application for a given event.

Middleware can also be configured to perform additional functions such as ASN collection, holding and verification/comparison with arriving tagged product.

Please visit the following category here on the SCN site to review some of the available RFID reader software solutions.

One of the main considerations will be the cost, difficulty of installation and overall scalability of the solution you select as this one cost can kill your project out of the gate if a simplified and streamlined solution is not selected.

If you have any questions or specific issues surrounding RFID reader software you’d like to discuss, just ASK and we’d be happy to provide feedback and guidance.

Jeff Ashcroft

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