RFID has become the go-to technology for tracking and managing everything from fixed assets to inventory, tools, and much more. As such, many industries are looking to implement their RFID asset tracking system to increase efficiency in their operations. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for implementing RFID, so companies must assess their needs and choose the right solution before deploying an RFID system. By taking time to plan this project, organisations can ensure a smooth and successful rollout, realise and maximise its benefits quickly. Below, we discuss the best practices and factors to consider when deploying an RFID system.
1. List all the requirements needed from the RFID solution
Planning to deploy an RFID system is not a small decision. With the abundance of solutions and vendors in the market, choosing which is best for the organisation can take time and effort. As such, ask the following questions to get a good idea of the RFID system that is suitable.
- Which and what assets need tracking?
RFID tags can track virtually everything, from physical assets like equipment, tools, inventory, and even people to digital ones such as intellectual property, domain names, software licences, and more. Deciding what needs to be tracked before looking at RFID solutions is essential as it helps narrow down the hardware and software options.
- Is real-time data necessary?
Some RFID solutions feature real-time data tracking capabilities, while others can only handle offline data. Knowing which assets need tracking should make it easy to decide if real-time data is necessary.
- What is the budget?
RFID solutions are available at varying price points depending on their functionality and features. Establish and determine what are the asset tracking system requirements in order to avoid paying extra for features that will not be used.
- What is the scope of the project?
RFID can handle all kinds of processes, from simple to complex, such as inventory management to tracking employees and other personnel. Clearly define the project’s goals and functions in order to implement a system well-suited to the business’s needs.
2. Flesh out an implementation project plan
When selecting the right RFID solution, it is vital to understand how to use it. This involves working with the RFID provider to conduct site surveys, mapping out of business processes, and determine where to apply the RFID solution to improve the shortcomings of daily operations.
With a clear plan, the next step is to commit all the resources needed to ensure a successful implementation, which entails putting the right staff in place to manage the project and with proper budgeting to cover the costs of the RFID deployment.
3. Consider a gradual rollout
Deploying an RFID system is generally best done with a gradual approach. A haphazard or hasty deployment will only cause user resistance, technical difficulties, and other complications that impede a successful implementation. Instead, a phased approach is preferable, starting with a pilot project to first sort out the kinks or potential problems before eventually expanding. This allows employees to get familiar to the new system and gain knowledge with the experience as to its usage and advantages.
4. Provide proper training to employees
Proper training is one of the most critical factors determining the success of implementing an RFID system. Without it, the new system may not be used to its full potential or even not used at all. As such, the project manager and RFID system expert should work together to develop a training program that teaches employees everything they need to know in order to be adept at using the system and with the ability to perform basic troubleshooting.
5. Expect the unexpected during the implementation phase
Regardless of how detailed the plan is, something can always go wrong when installing an RFID system. As a complex system involving hardware and software components, issues could arise during implementation, such as RFID tags getting detached, RFID readers experiencing interference from metals or other devices, and so on. Hence, it is vital to have a plan for dealing with the common difficulties and work closely with the RFID provider to deploy the best solutions. Doing so minimises the impact of such problems with the proper contingencies in place and ensures the RFID deployment is a success.
Despite being daunting, implementing RFID can be done smoothly via careful planning and proper execution. Of course, there are other factors to be considered when it comes to any project implementation, but hopefully, the contents above serve as a good starting point to get an idea of what it takes to deploy an RFID system successfully.