What is RFID?
Electronic Product Code (EPC)
Electronic Product Code (EPC) is a unique number that is used to identify a specific item in the supply chain. This unique number is stored on a RFID tag. An Electronic product code is much like a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), which is found in a standard barcode. EPC is a way to uniquely identify a pallet, case, or individual product.
Each RFID tag uniquely identifies an object, so you can use EPC enabled RFID tags to track individual objects as they move along the supply chain.
The difference between RFID and EPC
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is the generic name for automatic identification through the use of magnetic fields to transfer information from ‘chips’ to ‘readers’. Electronic Product Code (EPC) is a standardised form of RFID developed by GS1 for use in the supply chain.
Business and Radio Frequency Identification
Retailers and brands are turning to EPC enabled RFID in order to quickly and accurately identify, capture and share product information and locations.
Companies can use EPC to improve their internal processes or logistics operations. For example, companies can use EPC based RFID for tracking inventory or reordering stock.
It is the ‘next generation barcode’, unlike the barcode, which needs “line of sight” to be read, EPC tags use radio waves to read product information faster and more efficiently.
When to use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
- To identify many objects quickly – RFID can count and identify multiple objects simultaneously
- To identify objects that are part of other things (e.g. airframe parts, medical kits)
- When operating in a hazardous or open spaces (e.g. truck, rail yard) – RFID can “read” across long distances
- When not using human labour in identification– Identification happens automatically
- To add information associated with the product over time – Most RFID tags are rewritable.