Every day, technology is developing to help businesses improve their processes. Devices are becoming smaller, smarter, more mobile and faster. Businesses, whether large corporations or SMEs will benefit greatly when technology is used in a smart way. In this article, we will take a look at RFID for your business.
RFID systems offer benefits for businesses of all sizes. This technology allows businesses to swiftly improve efficiency, reduce cost through process automation, and improve the use of assets and quality. For any kind of business, RFID can form the basis of an effective asset management system. Furthermore, it is also at the heart of the IoT (Internet of Things).
RFID stands for “radio-frequency identification”. This technology allows digital data to be encoded in smart labels (RFID tags) In addition, these tags are captured by a reader using radio waves. Similar to barcoding, RFID captures the information and stores them in a central database for the business.
RFID for your business offers several advantages over similar systems like barcoding. For example, RFID tag data can be read outside the line of sight. On the other hand, barcodes are required to be aligned with an optical scanner. If you are looking to implement RFID for your business, consider using reliable tools like rugged devices.
How Does RFID For Your Business Work?
An RFID tag is made of two simple components; an antenna and a circuit. Whenever a circuit comes in contact with radio waves an electrical field will be created powering it. As a result, RFID tags do not need their separate power source – allowing your business to cut down on costs. Once you pass a reader over the tag, information will be sent and stored in a computer.
Smart Labels and RFID Tags
Some businesses are unsure of the differences between smart labels and RFID tags. As mentioned above, the RFID tag includes an integrated circuit and an antenna. Furthermore, the tag is also made up of protective material. This material holds the pieces together and safeguards them from a range of environmental conditions.
This protective material depends on the application. For example, an employee ID that has an RFID tag is typically made of durable plastic. The tag is usually embedded between the layers of plastic. In other words, RFID tags come in a myriad of shapes and sizes. Moreover, they can also either be an active or passive tag. Passive tags are common as they are typically smaller and more affordable to produce. Alternatively, an active RFID tag comes with an onboard power supply (e.g., a battery). It means, it can transmit data at all times.
Smart labels are different from RFID tags in a way because they can be used in both RFID and barcode technology. These labels are typically embedded with an RFID tag inlay. Furthermore, they also feature a barcode and/or other printed data. Smart labels are extremely easy to use and can even be printed by a common desktop label printer. On the other hand, printing RFID tags may require advanced equipment.
Applications of RFID
RFID is old technology and initially used during World War II. Nevertheless, the demand for this tool is still high to this day. The examples of applications of RFID for your business are endless. In fact, these applications extend from a range of areas such as tracking inventory to managing the supply chain. Moreover, RFID tags can become more specialised depending on the industry or company. What sets an RFID application apart from other systems is that it can easily be used to quickly identify individual items where other traditional systems may not work. Examples of RFID applications are:
- Retail Inventory Tracking
- Laundry & Textile Tracking
- Supply Chain Management
- IT Asset Tracking
- File Tracking
- Race Timing
- Returnable Transit Item (RTI) Tracking
- Pipe and Spool Tracking
- Animal Tracking
- Marketing Campaigns
- Vehicle Tracking
- Inventory Tracking
- Access Control
- Pharmaceutical Tracking
- Tool Tracking
- DVD Kiosks
- Real-Time Location Systems
- Event & Attendee Tracking
- Hospital Infant Tracking
- Library Materials Tracking
- Logistics Tracking (Materials Management)
Benefits of Using RFID For Your Business
Improve Assets Tracking and Inventory Management
Many companies struggle with managing their inventory. Often, items can go missing and orders can get messed up. RFID for your business is a great way to keep track of assets and items. Through RFID, organisations will find it easy to monitor individual progress and the number of items. Moreover, RFID also helps in stock checks, audits, and even controlling ‘shrinkage’.
Upgrade Accuracy and Availability of Data
A reliable RFID system will help your business avoid transcription errors. When large data is collected and managed, it is easy to experience duplication, missed items, or lost information. RFID reduces all of these errors through reliable data collection.
RFID for Your Business Saves Time and Money
Another important solution that RFID provides is savings. With an RFID system in place, your team can easily track the movement of goods. This information can be uploaded to a central computer or software – reducing the need for filling outdated spreadsheets. With the help of a reliable rugged device, you can also reduce expenses. Rugged devices that come with RFID readers can help ensure the progress of tasks.
Improve Production Control
RFID helps in identifying individual items or components. As a result, complex manufacturing processes become streamlined. Furthermore, any product or item will always end up right on time.
Organisations that utilise an RFID system can easily improve overall efficiency and productivity. This means, they become competitive and customer satisfaction is increased. Moreover, this also opens numerous opportunities for higher sales and improved margins.
Better in-depth management information
RFID allows data to be captured in real-time and at different stages. An RFID system in place will enhance management information for development and operational purposes.
Better quality and traceability
Quality and traceability are common issues in any business process. Having an RFID system in place ensures that products have passed through all the correct checks and processes.
Important Facts To Consider For RFID for Your Business
Return of Investment
Considering Return of Investment (ROI) is an important aspect that you must consider if you are to implement RFID for your business. Some of the aspects that must be thoroughly evaluated are fixed cost, recurring cost, cost of labour for switching to a new system.
It is best to consider creating an application and cost feasibility before fully committing to an RFID system.
- Application Feasibility – refers to the process of understanding if your processes are suitable for RFID use. You need to consider that like any technology, RFID also has limitations. In other words, there may be issues that affect how your RFID system will run for your business. Application feasibility will help you know which parts of the business will benefit and which may not be so receptive.
- Cost Feasibility – This refers to evaluating if applying an RFID for your business is achievable from a financial perspective. Furthermore, it also includes working with current and prospective numbers to help you know the estimated timeline for an ROI. Keep in mind that while RFID for your business has numerous benefits, it can be expensive. Usually, it requires a substantial initial investment for testing.
Fixed vs Recurring Costs of Using RFID for Your Business
Implementing an RFID for your business will also come with fixed and recurring costs. Understanding these costs will also help paint an accurate picture of how much the entire investment will be.
- Fixed Costs – These are one-time costs that are typically related to starting the implementation of a system. For example, in using an RFID for your business, you may need to invest in buying hardware such as readers. Nevertheless, you can still save a lot in the long run when you choose the right hardware. Consider reading about how the Total Cost of Ownership works.
- Recurring Costs – attributed to items that are used once and then discarded or consumed during the application. For example, an RFID inlay (label) is a recurring cost within an RFID system. While these are usually low-cost to produce, they are frequently no longer reused once an item that it is attached to is no longer in use. Moreover, if your business is using an RFID printer, the printer ribbon will also be considered a recurring cost.
Environmental Factors of Using RFID for your Business
RFID systems can be susceptible to a range of environmental factors and certain materials. These can easily reduce read ranges, as well as, affect overall system accuracy. Liquid and metals are the most common sources of interference for RFID systems. However, they can be eased with the proper RFID tags, planning, and equipment.
Is RFID for Your Business?
In whatever business operations you are in, RFID is a helpful solution to implement. When finding the right readers there are some factors that should be taken into consideration. For example, you need to take a look at the environment. If you need to use your reader in areas with extreme temperatures, sand, water, dirt, or an intensive laundering process – make sure to use a device that can withstand these situations. Suitable solutions for this requirement are rugged devices with RFID and smart label readers. To know more about Conker’s rugged devices, check out the product pages here.