RFID-based intra-supply chain in textile industry

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe the design of a radio frequency identification (RFID)-based intra-supply chain (intra-SC) system to facilitate coordination and integration of supply chain functions and activities, thus eventually enhancing the overall performance of a supply chain. Design/methodology/approach – The architecture of the proposed RFID-based intra-SC system is designed specifically for a chain made up of a fiber producer, fiber dyeing producer, yarn spinning producer, knitting and finishing producer, distributor, and a textile retailer. Findings – Compared with the traditional approach, operational time, costs, lead time, and accuracy of inventory holding and of cycle time operations are noticeably improved. Practical implications – The proposed RFID-based intra-SC system is implemented for trial at a distribution warehouse in Zhuhai, China. It is of benefit to the manufacturer who is able to seek obsolete stock effectively and capture real-time data automatically. Originality/value – The RFID-based intra-SC system is designed to overcome issues of information invisibility, which is considered a huge cost lost for obsolete stocks and ineffective intra-SC operations in the textile industry. In this industry, the products are highly dependent on seasonal factors. Short product life cycle and high forecast errors are also critical difficulties encountered by supply chain parties. Thus, the RFID technology is suggested to be adopted in similar supply chains. In this paper, a textile manufacturing site is selected to test the proposed RFID system. Some advantages, critical issues for implementation of the RFID system, and lessons learned from the case study are shared with other interested parties.

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