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Records-Management Company Deploys RFID at the Item Level

Sure-Reach has attached EPC Gen 2 tags to 1.1 million documents, making the Malaysian firm more efficient and better able to locate and inventory its clients' records.
By Dave Friedlos
HP's Wilkinson says Sure-Reach is already enjoying the benefits of RFID, with the time required to perform inventory reduced from months to mere weeks. Rather than having to remove every carton from a particular shelf to read a bar-coded label, the inventory cart is wheeled in front of the shelves, and all carton tags are read simultaneously.

What's more, RFID has made it easier to receive and ship documents. Pallets containing tagged boxes from several customers are passed through an RFID scanner at the doorway, with each box identified individually. Incidents of misplaced documents due to human error have also been reduced.

"For the current system," Wilkinson says, "there are already extensions underway to support tracking of tape media for data centers. Sure-Reach is extending its business portfolio to include tape management, as many organizations are required to store their tapes offsite for audit purposes." In addition, he notes, Sure-Reach is planning to open a warehouse in East Malaysia in the coming years, and expects to use RFID there as well.

Sure-Reach's Chan is reluctant to reveal the amount the company spent to implement the RFID system at its Shah Alam warehouse, though he says it was significant. However, he notes, while it is still too early to determine the return on investment from the system, it would make the company more efficient and provide it with better control over clients' documents through improved accuracy and reliability.

"It will allow us to have a leading and competitive edge to secure clients that would want records-management services," Chan says.

Although Sure-Reach claims it is the first records-management company to tag individual documents, it is not the first to use radio frequency identification. In February 2007, Recall Corp. deployed an RFID system enabling it to track document cartons at its storage facility in Northboro, Mass. And in November 2008, the company announced it was rolling out a similar system at its warehouses in Australia.

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