Where to Start an RFID Deployment

Many CEOs read about RFID delivering value and ask senior executives to explore how their companies can benefit from RFID. These execs often turn to RFID Journal with questions about where they should deploy the technology. We recommend companies start with a business problem or issue other technologies cannot solve, as described in detail in our report, How to Choose the Right RFID System: A Step-by-Step Guide. Among the potential problems:

• Lost or stolen assets

• Underutilization of assets

• Excessive labor costs

• Poor inventory accuracy

• Excessive rental equipment costs

• High shipping-error rates

Illustration: iStockphoto

Once a problem has been identified, companies need to explore whether RFID can solve it, and if so, which type of system would be most appropriate (active or passive, and if passive, ultrahigh frequency, high frequency or low frequency). The best bet is to run a pilot to see if RFID can, in fact, solve the problem and deliver a return on investment.

RFID Journal advocates that as companies consider various RFID systems to solve a specific problem or deliver a particular benefit, they explore any additional advantages each system might provide. This way, the system they choose can evolve into a single, cohesive infrastructure that supports more applications and delivers greater benefits.

The biggest mistake companies make is deciding just to tag and track pallets, cases or items. Such an approach is likely to lead to an RFID project that delivers information, but no real value—and that is a waste of resources.