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Best Practices: RFID Change Management

Six steps can ensure a smooth transition as you deploy or expand a radio frequency identification system.
By John Edwards
Oct 29, 2012—Most people do not like change, yet change is inevitable for all radio frequency identification adopters. Whether you're piloting your first solution or expanding an existing one, RFID will impact the way your company conducts business and how your employees do their jobs. Understanding and addressing these issues upfront is key to successfully deploying RFID.

While there are many books, seminars and university programs devoted to change management, they are not focused on the challenges of deploying RFID. So RFID Journal spoke with several experts in the field who have observed or worked on a variety of deployments. These individuals have seen how people concerned about their jobs can sink a system—and how educating stakeholders and preparing for the unknown can lead to a solution that improves a company's bottom line.

Here, then, are six steps every company should follow to manage change successfully:

1. Make a solid case for change.
Making the move to RFID, or dramatically expanding or modifying an existing system, is a milestone event for almost any business. The reasons for such a major change—requiring large investments in both money and human capital, and impacting employees, customers and business partners—needs to be communicated to all levels of your organization in a clear and decisive manner.

"The sooner you start alerting your employees, the better," states Michael Liard, the director of RFID at VDC Research, an RFID industry research and analysis firm based in Natick, Mass. "They need to learn what this change means and what it does—the value proposition it brings to the organization."

Many organizations approach change by creating a formal mission statement that incorporates three essential elements: a convincing need for the change, documented proof that the new or modified system will deliver tangible benefits over the long term and a detailed road map that will guide planning and decision-making.

"The biggest thing is understanding exactly what the end result is going to look like and communicating this vision upfront—not only to management but also to the end users," says Neco Can, the president and CEO of RFID Enabled Solutions, an RFID systems integrator located in Dublin, Ohio.
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