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Just in Time: RFID Streamlines Vaccine Delivery

Just in Time: RFID Streamlines Vaccine Delivery

The COVID-19 vaccine offers a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, but its stringent storage and usage requirements are adding an extra layer of complexity to the goal of inoculating the public. News stories abound regarding the lucky individuals who happened to be grocery shopping or stuck in traffic, and were randomly offered a vaccine when excess quantities were on the verge of expiration. Adding to the complexity are the reporting requirements: Every vaccine must be documented and reported to area health  administrators within 24 hours of use.

RFID provides a way to simplify the complex vaccine delivery system.

RFID’s strengths of accuracy and efficiency have been profitably applied in many industry sectors, from manufacturing to logistics, from healthcare to retail. Perhaps none of its applications are more vital than helping get COVID vaccines into arms.

One hospital in Pennsylvania has extended its pharmaceutical RFID system to include tracking the COVID vaccine from the time it is received from the manufacturer, to the time it is administered to patients. When vaccine vials are removed from their RFID-tagged shipping boxes in the freezer, they receive a pre-printed RFID label that includes the date and time of removal as well as the manufacturer lot number.

From the freezer, the vials are placed in the hospital pharmacy’s refrigerator, and the “use-by” clock begins ticking. An RFID reader in the refrigerator records each vial as it enters, and records it again as it leaves the refrigerator and moves to the clinic for inoculation. Any vials remaining at the end of the day are recorded when they are returned to the pharmacy refrigerator. More important, their time-based viability is updated.

This workflow ensures that vaccine vials are used in order of their removal from the freezer, so no dose is injected after its use-by time. Additionally, the RFID system creates an automated digital record which is output for the CDC-mandated documentation and reporting. The clinic’s staff is relieved of any manual record-keeping and reporting tasks. Their time is preserved for the essential work of administering vaccines.

RFID technology makes it possible for this hospital to support the health of the community. Other RFID applications can make your business operations healthy. Speak to an RFID expert if you’re looking for ways to boost your operational efficiencies.


 Photo © weyo/ AdobeStock 

Weighing the Disadvantages of Digitization

Weighing the Disadvantages of Digitization

Document digitization, as most business managers know, has quantifiable ROI measured in dollar figures with many zeros. One example: A small community college invested in digitization to help process their thousands of paper admissions applications each year, as well as thousands of operational documents of every kind. To learn if their investment was paying off, they applied the four digitization ROI factors from Forrester Research’s digitization analysis:

  1. Benefits– What are the tangible and intangible benefits to an organization, in dollar terms?
  2. Costs– How will the organization pay for digitization, both in hard costs and in resources, and are there finance or tax aspects of the cost that can be beneficial?
  3. Risks– How do uncertainties – usage, growth, obsolescence, etc. – affect the total impact of digitization on the organization?
  4. Flexibility– How does digitization create future expansion opportunities for the organization?

When the community college calculated these factors, they found they had received an immediate ROI of $150,000 in the first semester of using an electronic content management (ECM) system. Your results may vary, possibly even better.

Digitization has numerous advantages:

  • Centralized information source
  • Simplified file sharing for collaboration
  • Faster information search and retrieval
  • Reduced loss and security risks
  • Reduced storage space real estate costs

All these advantages add to the cumulative ROI of digitization. But are there any disadvantages? The answer is “Possibly,” if you:

  • Invest in digitization technology that is not robust, from an inexperienced or unreliable vendor.
  • Ignore the organization-wide need for digital security, not just for your Electronic Content Management (ECM) digitization system, but for all your connected e-devices.
  • Overlook the cost of the learning curve when introducing new technology in-house, rather than outsourcing the steepest part of that curve to an expert service provider.

We’ve never seen an ROI analysis of less-than-optimal ECM investments. Why would anyone want to start from a point of disadvantage? Contact an digitization expert and optimize the digitization advantages, and the ROI.

Photo © Song_about_summer/ AdobeStock

No Need to Fear a Downsizing Move. Here’s Why.

No Need to Fear a Downsizing Move. Here’s Why.

Seventy percent of employers anticipate downsizing their office space, according to a KPMG survey of CEOs. Pandemic-enforced work-from-home (WFH) has evolved into widespread adoption of the hybrid work style, a flexible combination of time in the office and time working remotely. Some businesses are going near-100% remote, reducing their footprint to a single small office. Many others are shifting to hub-and-spokes offices for their hybrid operations, letting employees put in their office hours in smaller “spokes” offices close to home, and reserving a downsized downtown “hub” office for central administration, IT, and major meetings.

The shift to smaller spaces inspires fear and loathing in facilities managers and operations administrators everywhere. The design phase alone is a daunting challenge; every department has to weigh in with their different, and sometimes conflicting, needs and wants. And then there’s the relocation logistics – what to move, when and how to move it, and where to put it all when it arrives at its new home.

It’s the stuff of nightmares.

It’s also a great opportunity to review office operations and make positive, profitable changes.

  1. Convert your documents to digital format via digitization
  • Save the cost of moving all that paper, not to mention all the filing cabinets to house it. Retain only the necessary paper documents, and shred the rest.
  • Support your “spokes” offices and WFH workers with an accessible, searchable database of imaged documents. Keep them on-task instead of spending time searching through folders in filing cabinets.
  • Boost your community goodwill (and your bragging rights) by reducing paper consumption and increasing your sustainability rating.
  1. Convert to an RFID asset management system
  • Save the cost of replacing lost furnishings. Tag furnishings to create a locational database, tracking items from office to office, and from room to room.
  • Keep track of electronic devices that move from business office to home office and back again.
  • Save the time and labor costs of a manual inventory that requires visual identification of assets. Output an accurate report of the business’s assets automatically.

Incorporate these upgrades into your office relocation plan, and you’ll begin reaping the benefits before your move as well as after. The right technology will banish those downsizing nightmares and set you up for hybrid workplace success.


Photo © Elnur / AdobeStock

The Change Accelerator That’s Restructuring Your Workplace

The Change Accelerator That’s Restructuring Your Workplace

The pandemic has been a change accelerator in many ways, but few areas have seen more rapid revisions than the workplace. Two trends were already gaining traction before 2020: the open office plan was being reworked to include some private spaces, and work-from-home (formerly termed telework) was spreading beyond a few narrow industry sectors.

Now these trends are rapidly becoming the norm, and they are bringing with them a host of design, operations, and corporate-culture questions.

The End of the Open Plan Office?

A recent survey of tech companies with open plan offices found that fewer than half expected to stick with their open-plan layouts after the pandemic. Yet even with the additional space requirements of private or semi-private workspaces, more than 80% of these companies expected to need less office space in the next 18 months. More than half anticipated entirely eliminating some of their office space.

For designers and facilities managers, these forecasts require a re-working of office space. Reduced storage space calls for space-saving high density storage systems. The noise reduction and privacy of semi-enclosed spaces call for dividing structures like touchless locker systems. Moves to smaller spaces call for office relocation services.

Is WFH is Here to Stay?

Work-from-home (WFH) is now a permanent fixture in workplace operations. Numerous surveys and metrics have shown the productivity advantages of WFH, and businesses are adopting technology such as document digitization, video conferencing, and digital whiteboarding that makes WFH practical.

With the success of WFH, managers and designers are now beginning to ask the big corporate culture question: What is the purpose of an office?

What About Corporate Culture?

As John Seabrook (New Yorker Magazine) writes, this question brings up other questions: “Is [the office] a place for newbies to learn from experienced colleagues? A way for bosses to oversee shirkers? A platform for collaboration? A source of friends and social life? A respite from the family? A reason to leave the house?” The answer, to one degree or another, is “Yes.”

The hybrid office, combining WFH with flexible in-office time, is right on trend. Hybrid workspaces help businesses reduce their office space footprint while giving WFH staff a needed dose of in-person interaction.

However, for a hybrid office to function well, corporate culture has to change many of its former patterns. Many employees worry that decreased “face time” will damage their peer and mentor relationships and diminish their opportunities for advancement. Improved transparency, communication, training, and especially diversity and inclusion policies will build employees’ trust that they are visible, supported, and recognized for their contributions.

Taken together, the trends of the Covid change accelerator can seem overwhelming. National Office Systems is a strategic partner helping you plan and implement workplace designs and technology to adapt to the changes.


Photo © Kaspar Grindvalds/ AdobeStock