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RFID Solutions In The Hospitality Industry — Supply Chain Automation

supply chain automation

Digital transformation has changed the world in recent decades, and it will accelerate even more in the years to come. A major challenge faced by hotels is the difficulty to track inventories and components through the extended supply chain. By introducing RFID supply chain automation solution, hoteliers get real-time visibility, traceability, and control, and they optimize the management of the entire network.

Hotels receive perishable goods like food and beverage regularly. Therefore, implementing RFID supply chain solution will allow authentication and location tracking control. This will improve the security and supply chain management (SCM) aspects of the hotel. Within the hospitality industry, RFID technology would be a feasible solution for hotel operators to improve their SCM, where information technology (IT) application tracks the inventory movement of respective stores, particularly the receiving, storing, and issuing of food and beverage items.

In addition, RFID could improve the food safety management system, where IT application tracks the cold chain management of food and beverage (F&B) items and First-In-First-Out (FIFO) protocol to enhance compliance to hygiene standards like Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP).

Due to competition and the ever-changing macro-environment, various RFID and IT solutions have been adopted to enhance the SCM system in hotels. These solutions provide the much-needed systematic coordination of all supply chain activities such as purchasing, receiving, storing, and issuing of goods with an aim to reduce inventory-related costs and improve customer service.

In terms of cold chain management, temperature monitoring and control are vital mechanisms to maintain food safety and quality. By tagging all incoming deliveries, correct F&B goods can be received dependably and the disruption caused to operations due to scheduled inventory count can be potentially minimized. The displaced or discrepancies items can be accurately and quickly identified for immediate investigative actions.

By tagging the perishable goods for the end-to-end cold chain, the FIFO expiry status and the food safety compliance in terms of temperature-controlled storage, can be accurately tracked from external suppliers to in-house freezers and chillers. The RFID-enabled SCM system will improve inventory visibility and accuracy. The movement of all RFID tagged items will be tracked in real-time at various locations including general and operating equipment stores, receiving and loading bay, and back-of-the-house offices areas as well as, F&B chillers and freezers.

The real-time tracking at the loading bay will ease the load of manual checking and receiving goods for each purchase order and supplier’s invoice, especially for huge volume delivery of the same items. It will also ensure that items are received and stored at the correct location which will shorten the downtime required for performing routine inventory cycle counting activity on F&B, linen, general, and operating equipment items.

Also, immediate actions can be taken to rectify and contain the hygiene and F&B quality issue when it occurs, when hotels link SCM systems with the Food Safety Management system. The exact location and balance of stock of affected F&B items as well as incoming deliveries and supply sources can be identified and isolated quickly to minimize the impact of the issue reported.

The RFID-enabled SCM system with central IT systems (POS and PMS) will allow real-time feeding of forecast and consumption data. This will improve the forecast accuracy at the item level to plan and control the foreseeable shortage or over-stock scenario.

The hospitality industry has to cope with the rising challenges of SCM to mitigate the risk of continued supply, food safety, and security. An accurate end-to-end tracking and identification technology that provides the exact supply status and goods condition will be crucial to keep the processes in control. Many of the back-of-the-house processes play an important role in completing a delighted guest experience, such as the supply chain management processes.


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