Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

RFID refers to a wireless system comprised of two components: tags and readers. The reader is a device that has one or more antennas that emit radio waves and receive signals back from the RFID tag. Active RFID tags are powered by batteries.

RFID is a growing technology that many trading partners within the General Merchandise and Hardlines sector are beginning to adopt. Like the barcode, RFID allows the easy identification of products and traceability throughout the supply chain. However, RFID tags do not require line of sight and do not need to be manually scanned, which can increase the speed of many processes.

Although still in the early phase of adoption in Canada, RFID is a growing capture standard around the world and GS1 supports its use with robust standards.

Learn More

Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS)

EPCIS is a traceability event messaging standard that enables supply chain visibility through sharing event data using a common language (EPC) across, between and within enterprises.

The Electronic Product Code (EPC) is syntax for unique identifiers assigned to physical objects, unit loads, locations or other identifiable entity playing a role in business operations.

EPCIS 2.0 supports existing and emerging industry use cases for traceability and supply chain visibility, providing such information as:

  • Whereabouts of products produced at or shipped from a given facility, to support tracking and tracing
  • Aggregation of individual items packed into cases, cases loaded onto pallets, pallets into containers
  • Time stamped series of business-relevant sensor data (e.g., for critical mechanical components or in temperature-controlled transports)
  • Details on measured concentrations of chemicals and microorganisms, for food safety applications
  • Accurate overview of product inventory or equipment availability across networks of distributed locations
  • Expiration of perishable assets (e.g., vaccines) to ensure timely use and first-in/first-out distribution
  • Certification details associated with harvest, production, shipments and locations, such as reduction of carbon emissions or efficient use of water and land

Using RFID

RFID uses radio waves to read and transmit product information stored on a tag or label (similar to a barcode label).

RFID connects well with existing barcode systems because established identification keys, including GTINs, can be encoded into RFID tags. This means RFID technology can be interoperable with Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).

RFID Benefits

As EPC/RFID evolves, it can offer significant benefits to consumers and businesses:

  • Improve supply chain processes
  • Help speed products to the shelf
  • Ensure improved availability for consumers
  • Help identify removal of expired or recalled products