Seven steps to RFID sanity

RFID has certainly changed the game for asset management across many industries. But, the only way to learn the true value of RFID is to test a desired application in your business environment, says John Rommel, the senior manager of RFID channel development for Motorola Solutions, a leading provider of leading edge, mission-critical communication solutions and services. The following steps will help ensure a successful implementation:

Step 1: Evaluate your existing processes. Where are there gaps in information? Where are you losing visibility? Where are your major inefficiencies? Then, evaluate if RFID makes sense.

Step 2: Understand your visibility requirements. What items do you want to read? How often? From what distance?

Step 3: Test in a real-world setting. Put tags on assets and inventory items and set up readers at the points you seek enhanced visibility.

Step 4: Evaluate technical performance. Do you get reliable reads? Do they properly update applications?

Step 5: Assess the economic and business benefits. Does the process improve workflows or how you currently operate?

Step 6: Understand the impact. How does the technology affect business processes? Are there integration issues with enterprise systems?

Step 7: Make a decision. Decide if it makes sense to move forward with a larger scale implementation. Refine the trial using different processes, technologies, items and/or read points, or cease activity.

"It takes a dedicated team with the appropriate leadership sponsor and authority to successfully navigate through these steps - and the right vendor," says Rommel.