How To Know if RFID is Right for You

The Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

Proficient inventory monitoring in the supply chain, real-time-in-transit visibility (ITV) and observation of general enterprise level assets are among the uses of radio frequency identification. On top of this, RFID is regarded as a technology that is capable of replacing the most prevalent AIDC (automatic identification and data capture) technology, which is the barcode.

RFID, without a doubt has proven itself as a means in many different types of industries and is better than the barcode in many ways. But deploying an RFID solution may not be the right thing for your business from the ROI standpoint. There are 10 main questions that will help you determine your RFID application's ROI, whether your scrutiny is intentional or involuntary (as in case of Wal-Mart and Department of Defense (DoD) mandates). The ten questions are:

1)      The kind of business problems I am trying to resolve with RFID?

Usually, RFID is very important in the situations given below:

If the visibility through either a structured process or an item's life cycle is decisive;

-  If there are time or labour restraints related with identification of the item, its handling, or replacement;

-If the price of labour and/or faults in data connected with item classification and its handling are towering;

- If in case, additional information about an item is required in business procedures or software programs, than the barcode can offer.

2)      In what way will my business benefit by using RFID as in place of barcoding?

Several advantages of RFID are associated with data readability. Human intervention is needed for barcode scanning. On the other hand, in most RFID applications, the information from an RFID tag can be interpreted without the requirement to properly align the tag with the device that interfaces with the data by someone.

Barcodes have to be visible on the outside of a product's packaging while it is not so in case of RFID tags which can be placed inside the packaging or on the product. There is no requirement of a "line of sight" to be read in case RFID tags which also have a greater read range which can be up to 100 meters. The readability of barcodes can further damaged by several factors including dirt, moisture, packing contours, and abrasion. However, such factors have no affect on RFID tags. The data storage capacity of RFID tags is more than a barcode. Barcodes are typically read-only and cannot be used again as against RFID tags which have both read and write capability.

Several benefits of RFID are associated to its effective cost optimization. If you can show the way RFID technology will do away with or lessen various expenses (for example by working on staff efficiency) in your cost benefit analysis, investment would be easily justified. It is necessary to consider that there is no common RFID solution that can be useful to all. An in-depth analysis of the company's business processes as well as the facilities where you desire to install the RFID system is required. This type of analysis will include valuable remarks from RFID sellers as well as consultants.

3)      What is more useful, RFID, barcodes, or mixture of the two?

Notwithstanding hullabaloo associated with RFID, it will likely never be able to take the place of the barcode, and in several situations, business processes can be used in the best way by using both technologies. For example, it will be useful to use RFID at pallet level and barcodes at item level.

4)      What are the standards which the RFID system needs to fulfil?

EPCglobal can be called the leading establishment in the growth of industry-ridden RFID standards. The RFID tags will be required to employ the "EPC Class 1 Gen 2" standard if you need to meet the DoD RFID labelling authorizations.

5)      Are there any global regulations that need to be thought, if yes so what are they?

If you want to employ the RFID technology in other countries, apart from America, you are required to know the regulatory procedures and the permissible ‘RF power levels' for UHF world over.

6)      Can the data collected be transformed into action?

While going through the pros and cons of deploying an RFID system, you may want to think upon how you want to go about transforming the RFID information that you seize into information that is actionable and which will ameliorate efficiency, lessen the costs and alleviate growth.

7)      Will the RFID system have the same performance everywhere?

Unlike the science of RFID, the tools and regulations are not universal. Several RFID companies have developed proprietary tools as well as software of their own and that proprietary equipment and software is not harmonious with technology evolved by other companies and manufacturers. Adding on to this, different regions worldwide have various regulations related to the usage of the RFID technology.

8)      Have I gone through types of buildings in which the systems need to be installed?

The environment in which the tags need to be used and the physical features of the item are few factors according to which RFID systems must be modified.

9)      Have I carefully checked the performance of the system throughout a sample range of items?

On the basis of their composition, including liquid, metal, plastic etc, objects can have several behavioural characteristics in the occurrence of a radio frequency (RF). RF reflecting, RF transparent, RF absorbing are few such characteristics. Many items will be sort of a combination of the three. The property of an object needs to be considered when choosing the RFID tag which is to be used. Different RFID readers and antennas also need to be tested besides different tags.

10)   Have we been able to assess the effect of RFID data on present information systems which I have?

One of the strong points of RFID is its capability to supply data when required, however, several information systems are just furnished for processing of batch. So, you may need to modify your active IT infrastructure in case of launching an RFID system.

If you are not thorough with the basic principles of RFID, one will be unable to provide answers to some of the questions given earlier. Contacting solution providers of RFID technology for assistance can be of great help to you. Ask them whether they offer services like installation, consulting, training and tech support or whether they are mere companies who resell RFID equipment? Knowing about the solutions they provide will be of great help to you.


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