Source Tagging Mandates for Retail Suppliers: Benefits, Challenges, and ROI



As retailers increasingly require their suppliers to tag their products at the source, it is becoming more and more important for suppliers to understand the value that RFID tracking brings to them. In a recent webinar titled “Source Tagging mandates, What Value Will RFID Tracking Bring to the Suppliers?”, industry experts Dave Horvat and JW Franz shared insights on the benefits of RFID tracking, the challenges that retail suppliers may face, and how to overcome them.

Dave Horvat is the CEO of real-time Intelligence (RTI), which helps companies make decisions and manage performance or traceability data that’s captured within their eP360 software. On the other hand, JW Franz is the IoT and Automation Solution Director at Barcoding, Inc, which is a supply chain automation and innovation company that helps organizations be more efficient, accurate, and connected.


Why Comply?

Together, they explained that there are two different ways to approach compliance mandates: suppliers can do the bare minimum to meet compliance and take it as a cost of doing business, or they can leverage this technology for internal benefits, such as competitive advantage, reduced costs, and streamlined operations.

Compliance with retailers’ source tagging mandates is critical and based on standards from organizations like GS1 and RAIN. These standards allow disparate systems to communicate with a common language, creating consistency and reliability in an RF world.

Failure to comply with those specs can lead to penalties or fees. Barcoding and Real Time Intelligence have GS1 expertise, and help customers work through the challenge of meeting those standards.


What Challenges Can Suppliers Expect?

However, suppliers may face challenges when navigating compliance for retailers’ source tagging mandates, such as the cost of implementing RFID technology and the need for a reliable RFID infrastructure.

To overcome these challenges, suppliers should start by understanding their specific business needs and evaluating the ROI of RFID tracking. They should also partner with reliable RFID technology providers and leverage their expertise to ensure a smooth implementation process.

The partnership between RTI and Barcoding is an example of how organizations can work together to create a holistic approach to solving problems for customers.



To better understand why retailers are hooked on this technology as a solution, Dave and explained how RFID works.

Passive RFID tags have a chip inside a sticker with an antenna that is looking for RF energy. Unlike barcodes, RFID can scan an entire area and transmit through many substances, including plastic, wood, and corrugate, and has a 99.99% accuracy rate, making it much more accurate than human scans.

When the tag comes in proximity of a reader, it wakes up and starts a collaboration with the reader. The tag sends a message back to the sensor that is energizing it, and hands back to that sensor the information that is on the chip, which is usually a formatted distinct number.

This technology allows for a fully automated and accurate data collection process that is not dependent on human intervention. Passive RFID tags are also much cheaper, costing pennies, versus active RFID tags.


What’s in it for Suppliers?

It is important to help suppliers see the ROI beyond just compliance, such as reducing cycle days, mitigating errors, or eliminating loss.

RFID tracking enables suppliers to have real-time visibility of their products throughout the supply chain, which helps them to manage their inventory better and improve their customer service.

This technology can be leveraged to reprioritize the labor force and increase efficiency. The data collected from RFID can be used to streamline the entire supply chain process from receiving to put away, pick, pack, and ship.

Using RF signatures inside products can even help trace them throughout the supply chain, making it easier to identify faulty products in case of a recall.


What Should You Consider when Choosing an RFID Solution?

Not all RFID solutions are created equal, though. Many solutions just collect and display the raw data needed, leaving many suppliers confused as to what it even means.

For suppliers to really gain an ROI from these mandates, they need a solution that goes deeper. They need a solution that puts their data to work for them, and provides visibility and performance management insights.

By partnering with reliable RFID technology providers and understanding their specific business needs, suppliers can overcome the challenges of implementing RFID tracking and reap its benefits.


Want to know more? Watch the full webinar.

Source Tagging Mandates: What value will RFID tracking bring to the suppliers?