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RFID as a Strategic Tool

The technology can do a lot more than tell you where your parts containers are located, yet most companies are not taking full advantage of it.
By Mark Roberti

Even these two examples, which few companies have fully implemented, are the tip of the iceberg. RFID allows companies to collect a wealth of data that will allow them to make smarter decisions that further improve their bottom line.

The high-end retailer, for example, might use data about which items were tried on in the fitting room but not purchased to make changes to the cut or fit of a dress. They might use data about where items were picked up in stores to optimize store configurations. And they might compare local demographic data and sales of particular items in stores against other stores, to optimize their products for different customer sets.

The low-cost manufacturer could tag items on various assembly lines producing the same product and compare the amount of time it takes workers at each station to complete a task. That data could then be used to retrain a worker not performing a task quickly enough, or move that employee to a different task to which he or she is better suited. Workers might also be paid extra for assembling pallets of different goods more accurately and more quickly.

The point here is that RFID is like Harry Potter's wand—it does a lot of different things, many of which seem magical (since radio waves are invisible). I will be presenting a complete preconference seminar on Apr. 10 at next month's RFID Journal LIVE! 2018 conference and exhibition, titled "RFID Strategy and Best Practices." During the sessions, I will explain where adoption is today, how to take a strategic approach to adopting RFID, how to develop a step-by-step deployment plan that encompasses that strategic approach and how to manage change.

Much of what I will be presenting has been learned from Airbus, Macy's, Marks & Spencer and other companies that view RFID as a strategic tool. If your firm wants to learn how to use RFID to enhance its competitive advantage and improve its bottom line, join me for this unique seminar. I can't promise you that you'll be able to ward off Dementors or even open locked doors with the Alohomora spell, but I guarantee you'll come away with a clearer idea of how to use RFID in ways that enrich you business.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark's opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog or the Editor's Note archive.


Kris Hughes 2018-03-06 12:41:49 PM
Great article Mark. I love your Harry Potter analogy. My take on this is that the heart of the RFID involvement revolves around the trigger that fires when a defined item moves into or out of a known location. The possibilities that can be derived from the knowledge are endless. Much of what we do revolves around a base software package that universally handles the location management and the triggering mechanisms. The presentation to the end user(s) is most often the piece that gets custom made. In many cases this is the simple piece, but requires custom graphics and interaction with other data. Thank you, Kris Hughes InformaTrac, Inc. (www.informatrac.com)
Christopher Woods 2018-03-20 11:16:05 AM
Mark, As a parent of two elementary school girls, all these school shootings is scaring the hell out of me - there was another today in MD not from DC, where I live. The political debate of the 2nd amendment and gun control seems to be moving forward but without a solution. I was thinking about an early warning system to notify schools if there was a gun (or more specifically an AR type gun) coming within proximity of a school. I know it is a long shot, but was curious to know the range of RFID technology. I did a couple of internet searches and ran across your article of RFID as a Strategic Tool. Would it ever be possible to get gun manufacturers to embed a passive RFID tag into the metal of the gun or have an aftermarket RFID tag embedded into a gun. Then instead of this nonsense of arming teachers, the schools could install RFID sensors around the perimeter of the school and get a couple minutes notice if one of these guns comes within a certain proximity of the school. If this is possible (I fully admit that this is a conceptual idea and I am no RFID expert or even amateur), I see several benefits - I don't think you can track certain kinds of passive tags, so there is no invasion of privacy issues; there is no addition registration required; it seems like a very low cost solution to protect our children; and finally there are probably some who would protest, but if the purpose is only an early warning when the gun enters school zones I would think that the pros far outweigh any cons. Thanks for your time, Chris Woods Washington, DC

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