As the e-commerce industry continues to expand, it is becoming increasingly important to have an efficient, swift, and precise picking process. Traditional pick and pack methods face challenges such as misplaced or lost items, slow, and inefficient picking due to reliance on human memory, and occurrences of mispicks. This blog will explore how RFID technology plays a crucial role in enhancing and expediting the picking and packing process.

Understanding the challenges in the pick and pack process

The pick and pack process has three key elements: efficiency, accuracy, and speed. Efficiency means using resources wisely to get things done smoothly. Accuracy is all about making sure the right stuff goes in the right boxes to avoid mistakes and keep customers happy. Speed is crucial for keeping up with the fast-paced world of business, helping to deliver orders quickly and stay competitive. These elements work together to make the picking and packing process run smoothly to fulfill the orders.

However, the pick and pack process today has a few challenges, such as:


One of the main concerns regarding pick and pack is the accuracy of the picking. Human errors during picking can be incredibly frustrating for both customers and businesses. Customers eagerly awaiting their packages may end up receiving the wrong items or find that some items are missing. This means they have to go through the hassle of returning them for replacements. On the other hand, businesses have to deal with extra operational efforts and increased shipment costs for each order affected by these errors.

Poor findability

Many warehouses rely on employee's memory when searching for items. But sometimes there are instances when items get misplaced, making them difficult to locate. This poor findability can result in financial losses because, even if the stock record indicates the item is in stock, if the employee cannot find it, they may eventually have to cancel the order.

Canceling orders after they've been made is even more problematic than not selling the item in the first place. The client will not only be disappointed that the item isn't available but also lose trust in you for misleading them into making a purchase that cannot be fulfilled.

Lengthy picking process

When employees search for orders one by one, relying on their general sense of where things should be, the process can become time-consuming. This extended picking process inevitably delays order fulfillment, impacting the business's ability to compete with faster-working counterparts in the market.

Labor-intensive picking

When the picking process is time-consuming it requires more effort and more employees to complete, especially in big warehouses and distribution centers. This requirement results in higher operation costs.

How to improve picking and packing using RFID

Fortunately, RFID technology offers a way to improve the pick and pack tasks. RFID involves utilizing small passive tags, typically in the form of stickers, attached to each item for individual identification. RFID readers, available as handheld mobile devices or fixed readers positioned on ceilings or walls, or a combination of both, interact with these tags. Additionally, RFID software is employed to gather and utilize the collected data, enabling the effective integration of this technology.

RFID technology helps with

Accuracy and efficiency

By using RFID, you can track every single item, ensuring you pick and pack exactly what you need in the right amounts. Unlike barcodes, RFID assigns a unique ID to each item, allowing you also to practice FIFO (First In, First Out) and avoid items sitting on shelves for too long.

Enhanced traceability

RFID simplifies the process of tracing and locating every item within the warehouse. This means you can locate items even if they're not in their designated spots. Additionally, RFID can also be used to find items that have been lost.

Speed and productivity

RFID is also a huge helper when it comes to time-saving. It notifies you about the location of the item you're searching for, eliminating the need to spend time searching aimlessly—just head straight to the right spot. Moreover, you can save time by opting for batch picking instead of going through items one by one.

Reduced costs

Thanks to RFID’s efficiency you can reduce costs by reducing the amount of employees needed to operate one shift. Furthermore, by improving accuracy and minimizing mispicks, you can reduce errors and avoid financial losses. And most importantly you don't miss out on sales due to logistical challenges, such as being unable to locate items in stock.

Frequent cycle counts

RFID can also be used to conduct quick, painless, and accurate inventory counts. This allows warehouses to conduct cycle counts on a more frequent basis and hence to ensure full stock availability, reduce shrinkage, and address internal thefts.

Making the picking process fun and less tedious

Apart from the numerous benefits RFID brings to the pick and pack process, it also adds an element of enjoyment to operations. Utilizing Chainlane's item search feature is akin to playing the "hot and cold" finding game. This gamification not only makes work more enjoyable but also engages and motivates employees, resulting in higher satisfaction levels and, consequently, improved performance.

In conclusion, RFID technology emerges as a crucial solution to the challenges faced in the picking and packing process. Tackling issues such as mispicks, poor findability, and labor-intensive operations, RFID enhances accuracy, efficiency, and traceability. By minimizing errors, reducing costs, and introducing an element of enjoyment through gamification, RFID proves to be the key to a streamlined, competitive, and customer-centric future in the rapidly evolving e-commerce sphere.