It is difficult to provide specific information about return on investment (ROI), because every application delivers a different ROI, and each company’s situation is different. It takes a worker one-tenth of the time required to take inventory of materials tagged with passive RFID transponders, for instance, compared with how long it takes using bar codes. If you don’t take inventory, then there are no savings, and if you are operating in a country in which labor is very cheap, the savings will be much less than if you operate in a nation where labor is expensive.
If you are considering using RFID, I would suggest you start by asking yourself what business problems you hope to solve, as well as the business benefits you expect to gain. In construction, companies typically have had problems involving the theft of materials on job sites, and they have also had problems locating tools. Sometimes, tools are stolen, and sometimes their utilization rates are lower than they should be because the tools can not be located.
In addition, companies have problems locating specific materials in large yards, and spend too much labor trying to find them. If your firm has any or all of these issues, it might make sense for you to consider radio frequency identification. But your ROI will differ from that attained by another company, depending on your labor costs, operating procedures, any fines that might be levied for construction delays, and so forth.
We ran a virtual event a year ago called RFID in Construction. The recorded presentations are available in our video library. And here are some articles that can show you how construction firms are using the technology in their operations:
—Mark Roberti, Editor, RFID Journal
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