Introducing The New Zealand RFID Pathfinder Group

What is RFID?

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) uses radio frequency waves to transfer data. An RFID system typically includes an RFID tag, antenna/reader and computer database. The RFID tag is attached to objects, products, people or animals which can be read by an RFID reader and data transmitted to an RFID database. One of the great benefits of RFID is that it doesn’t need line of sight to be read.

Some everyday examples that use RFID technology are microchips for cats and dogs, car keys to enable remote locking/unlocking and, security tags for clothing and beauty items.

How can RFID benefit businesses?

There are multiple benefits to businesses, with cost saving and productivity among the main benefits. RFID is a great way to keep track of the location of products, this not only helps with inventory management but also theft prevention. A product can be located and counted simply by checking a database, reducing the need for manual scanning or manual stocktake. RFID gates at store exits can alert security staff when an RFID tagged product passes through, even if it is concealed in clothing or backpacks.

EastPack is the largest kiwifruit and avocado post-harvest service provider in New Zealand with multiple packhouse/coolhouse sites. They experienced greater productivity and minimised losses after investing in RFID for their packhouses and coolstores. Each year, EastPack sorts, packs, stores and forwards to export a significant share of the nation’s $1 billion plus kiwifruit crop.

Freshly-picked kiwifruit are received for sorting, packing and temperature controlled storage in readiness for trucking to ships for export. The kiwifruit must be kept in the correct cool temperature range all the time. Pallets are moved in and out of storage on a first-in/first-out basis, with softer fruit being taken for export ahead of harder fruit. In the height of the kiwifruit season, that can mean 24 forklifts at work during three shifts over each 24 hour period.

With so many pallets to manage, EastPack looked to GS1 New Zealand to help streamline their operations. Ceiling mounted RFID markers and RFID tags on all pallets have enabled pallets to be identified to within 20cm of their exact location. When fruit can be accessed and moved with greater certainty and speed, the company can far more easily manage the risk of its deterioration and loss. EastPack is now leading the industry in reducing fruit loss.

Future benefits of RFID use in New Zealand

Imagine shopping in a store and not needing to go through a checkout, just simply tapping your payment card on the way out the door? With RFID this could be a reality. Amazon has used this technology with great success at sports stadiums for team supporter apparel. Each item in the store has a unique RFID tag when customers pass through the exit gate with the items they like, the tags are read and they can pay with their credit card. As RFID tags don’t need line of sight, the checkout process is much faster.

Join the New Zealand RFID Pathfinder Group

There’s a growing community of RFID experts in New Zealand. These industry experts and enthusiasts are driving the adoption of RFID in New Zealand and they want you to join them!

As a member of The New Zealand RFID Pathfinder Group you’ll get guidance on implementing your own RFID system, webinars, after 5’s events and more.

GS1 New Zealand and the New Zealand RFID Pathfinder Group work together with the shared goal of supporting RFID use in New Zealand to improve supply chain efficiency.