With RFID finding meaningful applications in more and more industries by the day, many other businesses are hearing about the fantastic benefits of this technology. They are eager to get in touch with RFID companies so they can reap the same advantages. However, many assume they need all the core components: RFID tags, readers, and reader software, and they can get started. Unfortunately, this is not the case as RFID is not a plug-and-play technology that can be set up and run quickly. Implementing RFID in any environment warrants careful consideration of the associated systems, the configuration and the set up in which it will operate. Below are the four key considerations when planning to adopt RFID technology.
1. It is not compatible with barcode equipment
Compatibility issues may arise when using RFID components, such as tags, with other tracking systems like barcodes. RFID requires specialised and compatible software to facilitate its information flow. The algorithms used to capture and store information between other unlike systems are very different as well. And lastly, there is a mismatch in the technology. For instance, barcode readers are optical and use visible light with line-of-sight to read tags. In contrast, RFID utilises radio frequencies, which means it does not need a direct line-of-sight or visible light.
2. The intended environment may require specific tags
The environment in which RFID tags are used affects their performance. Since RFID leverages radio energy, it can be affected when near metals and liquids. This is because the former can reflect and absorb radio waves and consequently interfere with their transmission, while the latter outright absorbs radio frequencies.
Packaging materials are also among the list of materials that affect RFID. Although common materials like cardboard, plastic, and foam packaging pose no problems, metallic ones will, including foil, metal containers, and specific conductive composites. All in all, getting different types of tags that get around these shortcomings may be required depending on the given environment that it is operating on.
3. Optimising business process is necessary
RFID enables automatic data gathering without requiring engineering alignments common with barcodes. However, to maximise the deployment of RFID, it is recommended to optimise the underlying business processes it works with. This is more so necessary when looking to reduce labour and automate data collection. Businesses implementing RFID must consider how the technology will affect their staff. For instance, if there are teams reading barcodes, they can now be assigned to other processes.
Because of this, optimising operations for RFID requires identifying where labour is required and where it can be optimised since the technology allows for the removal of certain unnecessary manual operations. As a result, business processes become more productive and accurate, releasing labour for other areas.
4. Choose tags that are sized for the intended asset(s)
The shape and size of the RFID tag are critical factors affecting how they are mounted onto an asset. Specialised industries like those manufacturing electronics require small tags to fit on or inside existing hardware. Depending on the asset’s dimensions, it may need an RFID tag that meets specific configurations based on shape and size.
It is also crucial to consider the object’s geometry and the maximum tag size it can handle. For instance, assets with convoluted surfaces may have limited areas suitable for mounting tags. When mounting the tag, it is also vital to ensure it does not impair the usage of the asset or cause any interference.
Thanks to its inherent capabilities, RFID technology is extremely valuable for organisations looking to improve productivity, efficiency, and their bottom line. But as we have covered in this article, RFID is far from being plug-and-play, requiring several considerations to adopt it effectively into any business process. Hopefully, the topics covered above prove helpful in streamlining the implementation process of businesses investing in RFID.