Barcode & RFiD in Supply Chain
Putting the Pieces Together
13th April 2009, Perth, Australia
Who am I – Eli Abitbol
• Director of Existco
• B.Eng (Hon) Electronic Systems
• Involved In Barcoding, RFiD, POS, Mobility in the Past 15 Years.
Who is Existco
• Small Business, Specialising in Barcoding, RFiD, Point of Sales, Wireless
and Mobility Solutions
• Microsoft Certified Partner
• GS1 Alliance Partner
• Various Vendors
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Barcodes – What is It ?
• A barcode is an optical machine-readable representation of data, which
shows certain data on certain products.
• Barcodes are available as linear or 1D (1 dimensional).
• They also come in patterns of squares, dots, hexagons and other geometric
patterns within images termed 2D (2 dimensional) matrix codes or
1D Barcode 2D Barcodes
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Barcodes – Who is GS1 ?
• GS1 is an international not-for-profit association dedicated to the
development and implementation of global standards and solutions to
improve the efficiency and visibility of supply and demand chains globally
and across multiple sectors. The GS1 System of standards is the most
widely-used supply-chain standards system in the world.
• GS1's main activity is the development of the GS1 System, a series of
standards designed to improve supply-chain management. The GS1 System
is composed of four key standards: Barcodes (used to automatically identify
things), eCom (electronic business messaging standards allowing automatic
electronic transmission of data), GDSN (Global Data Synchronisation
standards which allow business partners to have consistent item data in
their systems at the same time) and EPCGlobal (which uses RFID
technology to immediately track an item).
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Barcodes – What is GS1-128 ?
• GS1-128 symbology is used to encode trade item data for logistics units
such as cartons, cases, and pallets that are not intended to pass through
retail point-of-sale (POS). The use of this symbology supports fast and
accurate tracking of inventory and other specific data in the supply chain.
• GS1-128 symbology is used to uniquely identify trade items, logistics units,
and returnable assets in the supply chain. The symbology not only encodes
trade item data, but provides a method for encoding and sharing a large
variety of different specific data types defined by the GS1 System, such as
the Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC), Best Before Date, Batch / Lot
Number, and Serial Number.
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Barcodes – GS1-128
• This is accomplished by
creating and defining a list
of Application Identifiers
(AI’s) that uniquely defines
both the data format and its
meaning. More that 100
different AI’s are described
in the latest version of the
Specifications, a GS1
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Barcodes – GS1-128 - Example
(01) GTIN (17) Expiry (10) Batch (21) Serial
GTIN Expiry 01/01/2010 Batch Number Serial Number
Prefix Prefix No
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Barcodes – Unattended Scanning
Distribution Centres in Start Track / Coles /
Myers use the following equipment
RFiD – What is It ?
• Means of automatically identifying objects
• Typical operation
• – 64 bits to few kilobits of data
• – Range ~1cm to ~10m
• – 50-1000 tags per second
• Reader transmits radio frequency energy
• Provides power for the tag
• Enables communication to and
from the tag
• Different operating frequencies
RFiD – RFID Frequency Bands
HF UHF Microwave
13.56MHz 860-960MHz 2.45GHz
Relatively Reasonable cost Latest technology Smaller antennas
expensive and performance Legislation varies (and tags)
Low range Discreet tags, still between regions Typically less
Robust, but bulky quite low Range range
Asset Library, Transport, Very Specific low
Management, Transport, Document Read Range high
Harsh Medical, document Management, Read count.
Environment, Management New Library Laboratory Etc
Animal ID Application
RFiD – UHF Band Legislation
• Most Promising RFiD Band – Suitable for Supply chain, but there are
• Need to consider performance implications
• Numerous conflicts still to be resolved
RFiD – Power
• Systems discussed so far are passive
• No battery in tag; all power comes
from reader Carrier RF Wave
• Possible to build a battery into the tag
• Increased complexity, Passive Cheapest, no battery
size and cost
Semi-passive Much more range
• Improved performance (range)
Active (battery High performance,
powered) sensors, cost!
RFiD – Why RFiD ?
• Alternative technologies
• Barcodes (traditional and 2D)
• Magnetic strips
• Vision systems
Robust, reasonable operating distance
No line of sight; automated reads
× Not as cheap as some alternatives
× Some problematic items
RFiD – EPC – Electronic Product Code
• UPC as defined by GS1
Supply Chain – What is It ?
• A supply chain is a system of organizations, people, technology, activities,
information and resources involved in moving a product or service from
supplier to customer.
• Supply chain
raw materials and
components into a
finished product that
is delivered to the
Supply Chain – Example
Issue on Site Pick & Pallet
Receive on Site Shipping
Stage 1 - Goods Received with Optional Tagging
When goods Arrive from supplier, Pending Orders on the
system are downloaded to Rugged Mobile
Computers that scan received Item against the
purchase order and upload back to Purchasing / ERP
system items received. All transaction Executed in
Batch Process and data collected on mobile device is
sent back using Desk Cradles.
Items not Bar-coded or Tagged will
Be Done so at this stage.
Stage 2 – Picking and Palletising
Replenish Request from sites are then picked from
warehouse, and at the same time palletising.
Pallets include a mixture of Products, but Each Pallet
Label or Tag associated all items on the pallet.
All operations executed using Rugged Mobile
Computers and uploaded to ERP system.
Stage 3 – Shipping
Pallets are then associated with a container.
Each container has an RFiD Tag.
Containers are then shipped by Truck, Ship etc with a
destination associated with.
Stage 4 – Received on Site
Each container as arrives on site is scanned to indicate
received on site.
Each container as unpacked and opened is scanned
and pallet unpacked also associated with storage
Stage 5 – Issue on Site
Items in Stock on site are then issued to various staff or
department and again using mobile devices to log
and track against project cost centre usage.
Stage 6 – Requisition Request
Remote sites are raising requisition requests to
replenish required inventory. Again this can be done
using rugged mobile computers.
Barcode / RFiD Reading
Label Printer / RFiD Reader Industrial wireless
Carton Label / RFiD
Fixed RFiD Reader & Antenna
Pallet / Container / Trailer /
Truck RFiD Tag
• Barcoding , RFiD and Mobility Technologies are already available, and
proven. Recommend to use GS1-128 Barcodes and GS1 EPCGlobal RFiD.
• Industry standards are in place and managed by GS1 globally.
• Recommend to use both Barcoding and RFiD in final solution to Be more
cost effective. Barcoding for Lowest SKU and Cartons, and RFiD for Pallet /
Container / Trailer / Vehicles etc.
• Work closely with suppliers so they provide inventory already bar-coded, to
reduce Running costs (Prevent Labelling on goods Received).
• Select appropriate Hardware and software to fulfil Chevrons requirements.
Intermec is highly recommended brand By Existco.
• Plant and test with small scale pilot to prove processes re working as
• Existco Brochure www.existco.com.au
• Intermec Product Range
• Intermec Case Studies
• GS1 Australia – www.gs1au.org
• SSCC Label formats