In supply chain management, identifying the contents of an incoming package is a necessary process during inventory control. If each item in the package has its barcode, this job can be done by manually scanning the barcodes of thousands of items in the package. However, it is too impractical for today’s inventory control. The identification should be done automatically and quickly (e.g., within 100 ms). If each item is RFID-tagged, this inventory control issue can be solved smoothly. Nevertheless, for small-scale participants, such kind of identification can be prohibitively expensive. A time-efficient and cost-effective method is thus called for. In this paper, we first discuss the inventory control issue, that is, verifying the items of an incoming package, emerging in supply chain management. The issue is not that easy to resolve, because the whole verifying process must be done economically, quickly, and automatically. To shorten the identification process, we propose an efficient method that compresses all items’ keys (that is, barcodes) into a unique identifier (e.g., RFID) for an incoming package. The proposed method can support time-limited applications, achieve better global data sharing, and coexist with traditional barcodes. Moreover, it is well suited to small-sized or financially limited enterprises, and can be used to keep track of mediocre items as well as high-priced items. Finally, we conclude by discussing its technical, economical, and time feasibilities.
Key words: Barcode, RFID, multiplicity, supply chain management, ubiquitous computing.
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