RFID is an outstanding asset management tool. It tracks inventories, it tracks supplies, it tracks components during manufacturing, it tracks finished products all the way to the consumer’s hands. And it does all this tracking speedily, with complete accuracy.
But RFID isn’t just about the movement and storage of physical objects. It can help keep workers safe in dangerous situations.
Some workers’ jobs are inherently unsafe just by the nature of the work – first responders, for example. Other work settings may be safe ordinarily, but can experience life-threatening accidents or natural disasters. RFID offers a way to improve safety on the job or in the aftermath of a catastrophe.
ROUTING AND POSITIONING
The pandemic taught managers the importance of maintaining workers’ social distance as well as contact tracing. A tool kit of RFID wearables and badges monitors staff’s movements, making contract tracing simple. Fertilizer manufacturer Nutrien, for instance, uses RFID wearables to maintain social distance during crew changeovers, as workers pass in and out of gates.
Additionally, RFID wearables let managers collect data on workers’ on-the-job movement patterns. Analyzing this data reveals more productive task positions and operational routes. Wasted trips are reduced, and unsafe routes are eliminated.
In emergency situations, it’s vital to know where all your employees are. RFID delivers this information in real time. In a multiple-alarm fire, fire chiefs track their firefighters’ whereabouts via RFID wearables, and direct assistance where it’s needed. In the oil and gas industry, RFID badges let managers account for all their employees in the event of a volatile chemical accident.
Employee health and safety pays off in so many ways. You retain skilled, productive personnel. Your liability is reduced. Your insurance rates don’t suffer.
A safe workplace is good for your brand. And it’s good for you, personally. Alternative Energy Development Group’s Chris Fraga said, “The most important asset of our business is our team and their families, the very essence of life.” Don’t leave this vital asset out of your RFID asset management system. An investment in RFID technology is an investment in a safe workplace, and in your organization’s future.
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An Opportunity for Better Document Organization
Like many official documents, laws are printed on paper. One government agency plays a key role in the administration of laws, and this agency maintains paper copies of all the many laws it enforces. Quick retrieval of documents is an essential function of this agency, but insufficient storage space made document organization and retrieval difficult.
Paper is a bulky medium, and the agency’s storage space was chronically overcrowded. A relocation to new offices offered an opportunity to improve the agency’s document storage. But without a well-designed functional storage system, the extra space would be quickly overrun as new laws generated new documents.
The new facilities allocated three spaces for storage: one for boxed items, one for documents in filing boxes, and one for law books in a library format with research stations. The NOS team was brought in early in the design phase, working with the agency’s architects to analyze storage needs and spaces.
For each of the three spaces, high density storage proved to be the best solution. The high density storage systems eliminated fixed aisles, doubling the available storage capacity. With a wide assortment of adjustable shelves and bins, the high density system accommodated every shape and size of the agency’s stored items: paper documents, file boxes, and books.
Safe, space-saving storage was part of the solution, but NOS also found a way to assist researchers in efficient document retrieval. On the end panel of each shelving carriage, a shelf was added for a keyboard and monitor to give researchers access to their central database. Document search and retrieval became quick and easy.
The new high density storage system has prepared the agency for today and tomorrow. It can now fulfill its mission with improved speed and efficiency, and it’s ready to manage the flow of new legal documents in the future.
2020 was an experiment in necessity – how to shape or reshape the workplace, whether vacant, partially occupied, or fully occupied. As we move into the post-pandemic world, what are the workplace changes that look like they’re here to stay?
As we now know, mandated work-from-home (WFH) turned out to be far more productive than expected. The results of a recent survey by Upwork echoed an earlier Stanford study that showed increased productivity and job satisfaction among WFH employees. At the height of WFH in 2020, nearly two-thirds of staffers were working remotely, but Upwork estimates that the number of WFH employees will settle in the 20- 25% range in coming years.
The benefits of productivity, employee satisfaction, and real estate savings are solidifying the value of the hybrid workplace. Although a few organizations were experimenting with hybrid-style offices before the pandemic, it has now become the standard for many businesses.
With the establishment of the hybrid office come challenges and opportunities.
A significant challenge in the hybrid workplace: information access. Employees still need access to office-located documents on the days they are working remotely. Removing paper documents from the office means the risk of damage or loss. But without access to the information in the documents, workers lose all their WFH productivity gains. Imaging overcomes the challenge of data access; imaged documents, and the data they contain, are accessed securely from anywhere.
The hybrid workplace offers an opportunity to re-fashion the function and design of the office. The soul-crushing mid-century-modern cubicle farm is out. The much-despised open office plan is also out, due to productivity and health concerns. In its place is, appropriately, a hybrid design that offers some separation and privacy but also includes large spaces for collaboration. Hoteling will still be part of the picture, but staffers will reserve workspaces based on activity rather than mere available space.
Interior structures such as smart lockers will furnish separation and traffic routing. At the same time, they will provide an essential storage function for staffers who split their time between the office and WFH. Other structures like the prototype sound reduction panels from the University of Washington and architecture firm NBBJ also offer privacy and a visually interesting design.
Scientist Jonathan Schattke said, “Necessity is the mother of invention, but its father is creativity.” The hybrid workplace may have come into its own out of necessity, but its form and function reflect creative solutions, supporting workers with appropriate technology. The new hybrid worklife is here to stay.
Photo © Tatty / AdobeStock
Making Space For a Company That Makes a Difference in Government Contracting
A top 100 government contractor who operates as an umbrella company for over 40 companies was looking for a new way to manage their human resources files. With over 800 boxes of human resources files the momentum to manage this project was found when they decided to move to a smaller space.
Human resource files are unique as they include a variety of different types of documents and require a higher level of confidentiality. From offer letters, employment contracts, benefits information, personal identification there are up to 75 different types of documents, therefore, these files required a complex solution. In addition, these files are tied to over 40 different entities with several locations requiring access at any given time.
Confidentiality was of paramount importance in this project along with understanding and classifying the large quantity of documents at hand. The NOS Professional Service Solutions (PSS) team takes confidentiality seriously. Each team member goes through deep background checks with annual updates and use only private secure computers that are not connected to the internet and do not have ports for an external storage device. To categorize each document was a much higher hurdle to scale. Working closely with the client, the PSS team was able to analyze and create a form recognition system so they could work independently while classifying documents that spanned multiple years with documents that could look different year over year. In total, over 800 file boxes of files were processed. Each file was disassembled, scanned, indexed, and processed for access protocols.
At the completion of this seven-month project, close to 500,000 PDF’s were created and put into a secure content management system for easy access by the appropriately authorized individuals. The hard copy files were shredded, and the company was able to move into the smaller space while enjoying reliable and time saving access to these confidential documents.
An Agile Solution That Supports All Departments
This Association keeps communities connected and informed. The opportunity to move to a new space presented several challenges regarding their historical documents. Preserving these documents was a priority for the Association.
The new space they were moving into was 25% smaller and had no storage room or common area for files. Over the years, boxes of historical documents had accumulated. These documents included board meeting minutes, membership rosters, programs, and legislative information. These are an important part of the history of this Association. More importantly they did not want to bring boxes or files to the new space, therefore document imaging was selected because it provided many benefits.
The NOS Professional Service Solutions team was tasked with reviewing every box and every file, organizing the contents by type.. All documents were processed in a high-speed scanner and organized in a content management system. The documents are now indexed, searchable and easily accessible by the staff as needed. The Association staff is no longer wondering “what is in that box” and has the ability to locate a document within minutes.
With the success of preserving these documents it became apparent this solution could work for other departments within the Association. The Human Resources Department was able to process the employee files and segregate the different types of documentation within those employee files. The Professional Service Solutions team has also completed the Finance Department documents which will aid in meeting the record retention guidelines for support documentation without needing physical file space to be available.
This move to a smaller space created an initial concern for file management and storage which later turned out to be an important step to making their Association more agile and their documentation more easily accessible, a win-win.