Think About RFID Strategically

By Mark Roberti

If you are just using radio frequency identification to track your tools or parts bins, you are missing out on a lot of value the technology can deliver.

I often receive emails from people who perform Internet searches to find a tool-tracking, bin-tracking or other solution. They find a few RFID Journal articles, then they call me up and ask, "Is there a company in my area that can install a tool-tracking solution?"

I explain to these companies that they should think about the future when deploying an RFID solution. A good systems integrator can set up your solution so that data can be shared with multiple back-end systems, and you can add on to the RFID infrastructure if you later decide that you want to track additional things, such as parts bins, raw materials, work-in-process and so on.

Some people will say, "That's a great idea. I hadn't thought about that, but you are right." Others will tell me they just want to install a tool-tracking solution and be done with it. They have no interest in tracking anything else. It's too bad, because RFID is a very powerful technology that can truly create an Internet of Things. You are not going to put a Wi-Fi or Zigbee device on a wrench or returnable transport item. It's too expensive and you'd spend the rest of eternity replacing batteries.

RFID can connect everything to the Internet and provide the data that allows you to track and manage everything. It provides information that enables big-data analytics, and it will provide the data for artificial-intelligence systems in the future.

People can imagine a future in which self-driving cars navigate the world without human involvement. They have a harder time imagining a world in which they know where every box of parts, every file folder and every delivery is located throughout their supply chain, and in which computers analyze all of this information and make decisions without a need for human involvement.

I will be hosting a seminar at RFID Journal LIVE! 2019 called the RFID Strategic Workshop, in which I will explain to participants how to use RFID not just to track things that often end up missing, but also to support their company's strategic edge in the marketplace.

What does that mean? Well, if you are a manufacturer that strives to be the low-cost provider in your industry, I will show you how RFID can be used to take costs out of the manufacturing process and supply chain, providing you with an additional edge. And if you are a retailer that is on the high end, where service is critical, I will explain how RFID can improve the customer experience. I hope you will join the RFID Strategic Workshop and learn how RFID can deliver a lot more value than just helping you locate missing items.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal.