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5 Examples of RFID and Barcode Working Together

  • Abhishek Shukla
  • Dec 26, 2023
  • RFID
5 Examples of RFID and Barcode Working Together

Since its first application in retail item tagging, barcodes have been an extremely useful technological solution in retail stock management. In retail stores, keeping track of inventory, available stock, and out-of-stock items requires a tremendous amount of planning. Retailers require an updated inventory to avoid out-of-stock scenarios in their stores, especially for not disappointing customers.

Even though barcoding solved various retail issues related to product identification, it failed to give a clear picture of the stock. Lack of inventory visibility is still a big problem because, without an updated inventory, retailers risk losing customers and business loss. 

Around 1999, Kevin Ashton, while he was working with P&G, was struggling to come up with an efficient solution to this problem of inventory visibility for retail stores. He was working on RFID technology and looking for ways to integrate RFID into retail. 

With the invention of EPC (Electronic Product Code), the use of RFID in asset tagging and retail inventory management became a reality. Over the next few years, the RFID group at MIT worked hard to make it affordable for retail businesses and in this effort, various retail giants such as P&G, Walmart, Gillette, etc. also pitched in. 

With simple global RFID standards, ISO 18000 and EPCglobal gen 1 class 1, gen 2 class 2, etc. it became easy for retailers to use RFID at a cost-effective price, automating their inventory and ensuring order fulfillment.

RFID and Barcode Working Together

The RFID technology leverages RFID tags, readers, and antennas to facilitate item-level tagging and tracking. RFID tags can be encoded with EPC data, and unique identifiers for each product, and an RFID reader can be used to interrogate the data from the RFID tag. 

RFID technology can work together with barcode technology to ensure accurate data capture from tagged items. Barcodes can hold a limited amount of data while RFID tags come with microchips and can store more information about the product. Also, UPC-12 barcodes and QR Codes can be read using a smartphone, while RFID tags can be read by using an RFID Reader only. Thus combining these two technologies can ensure error-free inventory management and enhanced item visibility in a warehouse.


5 Examples of RFID and Barcode Working Together

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and barcode technologies can work together in various ways to enhance efficiency and accuracy in different industries. 

Here are five examples of how RFID and barcodes can be implemented together:

Pick-to-Light and Put-to-Light Systems for Order Picking

Pick-to-light and Put-to-Light Systems are advanced order fulfillment methods that can be made more efficient with RFID and barcode working together. The Pick-to-Light and Put-to-Light systems use portable barcode scanning devices synced to digital light displays to guide warehouse pickers where to pick up or place selected items. When we combine barcode scanning with RFID technology, these systems can dramatically reduce walking and searching time, as well as human error in high-volume situations.

Voice Picking and Tasking in Warehouses

Voice-directed warehouse procedures, also known as pick-by-voice, use speech recognition software and mobile headsets. These systems create optimized pick paths to direct warehouse workers where to pick or put away a product. Warehouse managers can integrate RFID and barcode readers to enhance the voice picking and tasking systems, eliminating the need for handheld devices like RF scanners and allowing pickers to concentrate on their tasks with improved safety and efficiency.

Automated Sortation Systems

 Sortation involves identifying items on a conveyor system and diverting them to a warehouse location. The automated sortation system is used by organizations in order fulfillment for receiving, picking, packing, and shipping. RFID, barcode scanners, and sensors are employed to identify and sort items efficiently.

Combining RFID and barcoding together, the process is made error-free and efficient. Tagging items with RFID tags and barcodes together, no item is missed or sorted in the wrong category. 

Advanced Apparel RFID Stock Locator

 Retailers are investing in integrated RFID solutions that minimize out-of-stock situations, provide real-time merchandise location data, and improve the customer experience. RFID technology, through item-level tagging, allows retailers to track inventory throughout the retail supply chain, from warehouse shelves to the sales floor. 

For example, clothing wholesaler Advanced Apparel uses RFID technology to pinpoint the location of goods within a warehouse, down to the rack or shelf they are stored on. RFID tags with barcode scanning can streamline the process of locating merchandise and provide accurate and detailed inventory information.

Healthcare Inventory Management

In the healthcare industry, RFID and barcode technologies can be used together to improve inventory management. RFID can automatically track product receipt, transfer, and inventory management, while barcode scanning allows for quick and accurate data capture. RFID tags can store more information per chip than a barcode, and wireless scanners can instantly identify and capture data when within scanning range. Thus, using RFID and barcode technologies together allows healthcare facilities to increase efficiency and reduce errors in inventory management.

Benefits of Implementing RFID and Barcode Together

Implementing RFID and barcode technologies together offers several benefits:

Improved Efficiency

By combining RFID and barcode technologies, businesses can streamline processes, reduce manual data entry, and increase overall operational efficiency.

Enhanced Accuracy

RFID and barcode technologies provide accurate and reliable data capture, reducing errors and improving inventory management. Barcode technology here works like a failsafe, ensuring high accuracy in inventory management.

Real-time Tracking

Both RFID and Barcode systems enable real-time tracking of assets, inventory, and products throughout the supply chain, providing visibility and control.

Cost Savings

Both technologies can help reduce labor costs, minimize inventory shrinkage, and optimize supply chain operations, leading to cost savings.


RFID and barcode technologies can be used together seamlessly, allowing businesses to leverage existing barcode infrastructure while incorporating the benefits of RFID technology.


To conclude, RFID and barcode technologies can work together in various applications to improve efficiency, accuracy, and visibility in industries such as warehousing, retail, healthcare, and more. Combining these technologies allows businesses to achieve better inventory management, reduce errors, and enhance overall operational performance. Most RFID labels are designed to support barcode printing on the RFID label surface



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  • Created on Dec 23, 2023
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