At present, the express logistics industry has entered an era with a business volume of 100 billion and a scale of trillions. Compared with foreign countries, the domestic express logistics industry has a series of characteristics such as low unit price, high frequency, and dense transportation network. With the development of e-commerce in China, the express logistics industry is also booming.
The demand for RFID in the express logistics field is relatively clear. First of all, the express delivery industry has always been in the development stage. From the early multi-layered orders to the current barcode orders, its application technology is constantly developing. RFID receipts will be an inevitable trend in future development. For the logistics industry, RFID, compared to barcodes, can facilitate the processes in the express logistics transportation process such as accurate tracking of goods, high-speed identification of express delivery, intelligent dispatch, tracking of returned and exchanged products, and search for lost goods, and increase the efficiency of express delivery.
Cost and benefit calculation
First of all, for the current express delivery industry, the express delivery revenue of Tongda Department and Postal Service is about 10 yuan, and the profit is at the level of a few cents. If RFID is to be used, it means that the current express delivery industry needs to take a relatively large part of the profit. Given RFID, this is still difficult to accept for the express logistics industry at this stage. In addition, when RFID is used in express delivery, fixed assets such as readers and writers must be used before tags are used. The depreciation of this fixed asset also needs to be taken into account in cost and income calculations.
The logistics industry is relatively sensitive to policies. If there are policies requiring the use of certain technologies, it will greatly accelerate the evolution of the industry. At the end of 2021, the country issued the “Technical Requirements for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Application in Mailing and Delivery Packaging”, which regulated the use of RFID, which greatly promoted the application of RFID recycling packaging bags in the industry. Immediately, in 2022, China Post also launched relevant standards for RFID application in the logistics industry, boosting the application of RFID in the express logistics industry.
At this stage, the main issues restricting the application of RFID in the express logistics industry are cost, equipment and production capacity. As for the cost issue, the current label price is still far away from the acceptable price in the express logistics field. It is expected that it will take 1-2 years to reduce the cost to the level of demand. Equipment issues need to be determined based on the level of fixed capital utilization of different express delivery companies, and the use of RFID will also be gradually promoted by express delivery players. Regarding production capacity, the current global RFID production capacity is about 50 billion, and most of it is occupied by the clothing retail industry. If the domestic market wants to fully apply RFID in the logistics industry, the current production capacity is far from enough, and it will take 2-3 years of capacity expansion to achieve full application.
At present, the application of RFID in the express logistics industry is mainly concentrated in three scenarios:
①Collect bags. At present, the penetration of RFID tags is mainly in the collection bags, and the number of express delivery items that can be contained in a collection bag is about 20-30. Normally, after an order is placed for a single product package, it is sent from the merchant’s warehouse to the transit warehouse, and then transported to the destination sorting warehouse in the form of a collection of bags. After the sorting is completed, they are still transported to the secondary or even tertiary sorting points in the baggage mode. Finally, the single package is delivered to the resident’s post station or express locker by the area courier through the package bag.
②Fixed assets. In the field of express logistics, RFID has been widely used on some fixed assets. Scenes such as warehouse shelves, transfer pallets, turnover boxes, trucks, etc. all use RFID to manage fixed assets circulating in the scene. However, since these fixed assets are fixed assets in the warehouse, they have little impact on the shipments of RFID tags, mainly the equipment of hardware facilities (handheld computers, readers, access doors, etc.).
③E-commerce management. Companies such as JD.com and Cainiao have begun to use RFID to manage the supply chains of some retail and shoe and apparel brands. RFID is used to facilitate the rapid and accurate management of goods in transit warehouses. At the same time, RFID tags are bound to shoes, clothing or high-end retail products, which can effectively solve transportation, distribution, inventory management and other problems, making the inventory and supply chain of brand products more transparent.