RFID technology can be very handy within inventory control, asset management and countering thefts. Both small and big enterprises should adopt RFID technology within their materials management dynamics. Globalisation has lengthened and complicated supply chains. Organisations will require adaptation to novel technology solutions that are smart. During the transit of inventory to the end-user, RFID will help regulate and safeguard it more effectively. Globally, leading retailers are mandating implementation of the RFID technology for their suppliers.
Study results from Pennsylvania University suggest retailers with RFID have experienced sales growth of 4%. With enhanced customer service of 8%, RFID has reduced costs by 11% and improved the visibility of assets by 25%. Also, the novel technology has elevated operational efficacy by 37%. Therefore, getting RFID tags into more aspects of business operations has now become a necessity. The implementation of RFID technology, however, will need an intensive reading of the nature and requirements of the business.
General considerations for RFID technology implementation
The advantages of RFID technology in terms of efficiency are innumerable. Although, its adoption within a company requires a precise and accurate analysis in order to guarantee the success of the RFID project. Organisations need to consider the following factors:
- Identifying the problem: To capitalise on the advantages of RFID, it is imperative to detect the inefficiencies and bottlenecks, if any, within the existing processes. The entity will require a comprehensive scenario of its existing inventory situation and asset management practices in place. Besides, it needs to perceive correctly the dynamics involved in its supply chain.
- Setting objectives: Organisations need to set smart, measurable, achievable and time-based business goals. This will help them to assess their asset management and the supply chain more thoroughly. In turn, it will impart a precise knowledge of the areas that can benefit from RFID deployment.
- Estimation of costs: The company must calculate the costs of an RFID implementation before moving forward. Investing in the right technology depends on the activity and technology used. If RFID is used within inventory management in a warehouse or in a retail environment to track valuable goods, the cost estimates will be different. Different technologies will imply different costs for each company. Thus, it will be significant to estimate the total capital expenditure for the RFID technology implementation. Most importantly, this will render an outline of the ROI from the investment.
- Choosing the appropriate RFID technology: Business entities need to choose the right RFID technology for each project. To start, you will need to decide on whether to employ passive or active tags. Active tags are necessary for localisation at greater distances. Smaller objects within a limited space benefit from passive tags. In terms of size, shape, model, and application, RFID tags vary extensively. It is equally important to choose the right readers. Their reading distances depend on the power and whether they are fixed or mobile. Environmental factors also influence RFID technology types. For the selection of suitable devices and tags, an understanding of the place and the environmental conditions is essential.
- Training the workforce: Along with RFID implementation, the company must acquaint the workforce with all the RFID features. Their knowledge of it should go beyond the basics. Also, the key project personnel should possess a deeper understanding of the technology in question. More knowledge of how the technology works will make it more effective.
- Executing a pilot simulation: An RFID project’s implementation phase should begin with a smaller scale pilot project. By doing so, the company can assess the technology’s benefits and determine its value to the company. Furthermore, this allows for any changes to be made before the eventual implementation.
Retail managers can take advantage of RFID implementation by implementing what is known as smart shelves. Smart shelves track inventories of items with RFID tags. Moreover, they automatically reorder items when stocks reach certain levels. A network of readers at varying locations leads to the coordination of data from all the RFID readers. This process is known as asset tracking. Locating and determining whether or not an item is in the right location is easier with asset tracking.
Technical considerations for RFID implementation
Stock control has long used RFID technology, but it is becoming increasingly popular with employee ID cards. Contactless authentication is one of its advantages. So, it’s perfect for door access because it’s hands-free. Implementing RFID technology requires the following technical considerations:
- Auto-ID is gaining popularity because it is convenient and offers security and identification. Access control and data capture can be convenient with RFID technology. As opposed to traditional systems and badges, this has numerous advantages.
- RFID passive tags, which are battery-less tags, send electromagnetic waves to readers. Magnets in the reader provide power to the tags. Active RFID tags don’t have batteries. They can transmit their data periodically to the RFID reader through a cross-reference within the reader’s database or wirelessly. The reader receives the tag’s data from a server by wirelessly referencing it within its database. Some readers can cover a distance of even 30,000 square feet. It is also possible to relocate or reposition RFID readers wirelessly as needs change.
- An RFID system stores a serial number that is unique to each user as a method of authentication. As well as storing biometrics information, tags could also store photographs.
- Unauthorised readers can read RFID tags. By requiring passwords to access tags’ memory, users can avoid this type of skimming. Additionally, encrypting communication between the reader and the tag will help resolve this issue. It is possible to use RFID at different frequencies. Standards exist for both low and high-frequency RFID. In the supply chain, however, most companies prefer UHF because of its longer reading range. Nonetheless, numerous other devices utilise the UHF spectrum.
By using wireless signals, RFID enables systems to receive and send identification data by using embedded objects within individuals, items and/or products. In the supply chain management field, RFID implementation has indeed been a game-changer. A passive RFID tag cannot read data, whereas an active RFID tag can. Writable and readable tags extend the potential of changing, reading and storing a plethora of information. Read-only tags will only have an identifying string for collection in transit.
Cost of RFID technology
There has been widespread adoption of RFID solutions within organisational asset and materials management. This has resulted in the prices of the technology dropping significantly. With decreasing prices, its benefits now appear more pronounced. You should consider your labour costs and your preference for real-time data accuracy when determining the ROI of RFID.
When labour costs are high and real-time information is required, the active RFID tag is a better option. While this is quite a complicated topic, hopefully, this can aid in high-level decisions that you will need to make. The bottom line is that with increasing investment in this technology, the level of automation also increases.
RFID is evolving rapidly, like most other technologies. A vendor experienced in RFID projects can provide advice on choosing the right tag for a specific environment and application. Technowave offers passive and active RFID technologies so that their clients have a choice. Companies selling RFID technology may promote the advantages of passive or active technologies. Technowave makes it easy to compare the options. With RFID technology from Technowave, you can control your access to your facility with convenience and capture data automatically. In comparison with traditional access regulation frameworks and badges, this offers many advantages. A physical perimeter defence can play an important role in critical or sensitive areas. Technowave also helps companies build a business case for the right RFID solution.