Retail strategist Marshall Kay coined a new term a few years ago: RFIQ. Kay is a huge proponent of RFID technology for retail success. He describes RFIQ as a retail metric similar to a human IQ test. Instead of measuring individual intelligence, RFIQ measures a retailer’s understanding and application of RFID technology.
RFIQ isn’t confined to the retail industry, however. A range of business sectors, from pharma and healthcare to agriculture and auto manufacturing, utilize RFID in their production and distribution processes. So how does RFIQ fit in to these diverse industries?
For any industry sector, it starts with a series of questions:
What is RFID?
In brief: It’s a technology that uses radio waves to identify, locate, and track movements of tagged items.
What are the benefits of RFID?
The short answer: It significantly reduces the costs of managing inventories and tracking assets, giving your business a competitive edge.
Which companies use it?
Trick question. Just about everyone.
Why is it critical to their operations?
In big-picture terms: RFID does what technology is good at – in this case, accurate, repetitive counting and tracking tasks. It frees employees’ time for tasks that technology isn’t as good at: customer service, research, innovation, marketing and sales, etc.
RFIQ is a qualitative measure. The more knowledge you acquire about RFID, the more you understand the ways it can be used. And with that new understanding, you can seek out the best RFID applications for your particular operation.
But increasing your RFIQ is time-consuming. It requires diligent efforts to gain an in-depth understanding of what RFID can do for your organization, and how to implement it within your processes. You can reduce the time to reach increased RFIQ by working with an RFID expert who can give you detailed answers to the questions above. They will help educate you and guide you toward the options that best fit your business.
You don’t have to be a genius to have a high RFIQ. All it takes is a clear understanding of what RFID can do for you. Increase your RFIQ, apply it to your business, and gain a competitive edge.
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Life sciences regulatory compliance doesn’t end at the walls of the research lab, the clinic, or the pharmacy. Every aspect of life science operations, from sales and marketing to education, training, and lab operations, is subject to regulations, and new or revised regulations are being issued on a near-daily basis. With pages and pages of documentation to read through, business leaders and compliance officers simply don’t have the time to onboard all the new information, much less enforce the rules.
Lately, however, AI technology has been assisting life sciences businesses to assimilate new and revised regulations without having to spend valuable time reading volumes of regulatory documentation. New AI apps extract critical information from the documentation and deliver it in a kind of “readers digest” form. Compliance officers can then apply these actionable insights to their operations.
But that still leaves a pile of internally-generated documents for a compliance officer to comb through, searching for non-compliant language. Sales and marketing literature, training manuals, and educational materials are all vulnerable to compliance issues. Parsing the content in these printed materials is just as time-consuming and error-prone as reading the regulatory documents.
Digital technology comes to the rescue here, too, in the form of document conversion. Digitizing the printed materials creates a searchable database. When a new regulation is issued, the AI app outputs a condensed pertinent version. Then the keywords of the condensed regulation can be matched against the keywords of the digital document database. Outdated or conflicting documents can be flagged automatically, and new compliant documents can be generated quickly.
And in the event of an audit, speedy retrieval of documents shortens the audit and gives auditors confidence in the overall management of records. Digitized documents are delivered with electronic speed, far faster than staffers can locate paper documents in filing cabinets or archived storage.
The average cost for non-compliance is over $14 million. No life sciences business, large or small, wants to pay such enormous costs. Incorporate AI and document digitization into your compliance protocol, and keep that money where it belongs: in your profits.
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With its unmatched speed and accuracy, RFID technology is unbeatable for collecting data to manage physical assets. Users and tech developers are constantly coming up with new applications and best practices. Each year at its annual conference, RFID Journal honors organizations who have showed exemplary uses of RFID in their operations. Congratulations to this year’s Annual Award winners, including:
Retail: Carter’s, a U.S. based children’s clothing manufacturer, uses RFID to improve its inventory management and increase omnichannel sales.
Manufacturing: Global technology and engineering company Emerson is managing process-hardware assets with an RFID/IOT system that includes a predictive maintenance feature.
Healthcare: England’s University Hospital Plymouth adopted RFID to track more than 40,000 medical devices and sterile equipment units as they are deployed around the hospital.
Logistics/Supply Chain: BAE Systems, a manufacturer of defense, aerospace, and security systems, has expanded its RFID asset management to track the movement of assets entering and exiting warehouses, as well as managing containers and storage space.
A Special Achievement Award was presented to Dr. James Shuler, U.S. Department of Energy, and Dr. Yung Liu, Argonne National Laboratory, who collaborated on the development of an RFID system for tracking nuclear waste. In addition to their innovative system, they have devoted much time to educating organizations about the value of RFID in such applications.
Forward-thinking individuals and businesses like these award winners make RFID technology more useful for everyone. As advocates of RFID ourselves, we at NOS salute their innovative applications.
Are you an RFID innovator? This award could be yours next year!
The Great Resignation has sent wages climbing further and faster than we’ve seen in decades – up 5.7% in just one year. There are more job openings than there are unemployed people to fill the jobs. Help Wanted signs are everywhere. Employers’ budgets were based on old employment forecasts; now they are scrambling to find the funds for the higher salaries the marketplace demands. Profits are bracing for a hit.
But there’s a way to cover the higher salaries without increasing your budget. It involves reducing your real estate footprint – and the costs associated with it – in one simple way: Get rid of those acres of file cabinets and archived document boxes.
Every business holds on to more paper than it really needs. However, there are intangible productivity costs associated with paper, according to PriceWaterhouse:
- 8 hours– the amount of time an employee spends managing paper documents each week
- $122– the cost of finding a single lost document
- 750– the number of lost paper documents per year, per mid-size business
Lost documents alone cost the average business a whopping $91,500 annually.
But beyond the productivity costs, there are the very tangible costs of the real estate needed to file all that unnecessary paper. A standard filing cabinet takes up 9 square feet of space. That single filing cabinet translates to $500 per year in rent, at the current rate of $54 to $60 per square foot in Washington, D.C.
Document conversion offers a solution. When you digitize all those stored documents, you first go through a triage process that identifies the documents that you absolutely must preserve as paper. The digitization (scanning) process then creates a document database of all your documents, secure and searchable.
To complete the process, all the less-the-necessary documents are shredded securely, in compliance with any applicable regulations. Your document storage needs are suddenly reduced. Your storage area goes from several hundred square feet down to the size of a single external hard drive.
And just like that, your budget can be re-aligned, covering the HR shortfall with the real estate savings.
Of course, there are other factors to consider, like the terms of your current lease, or a move to a hybrid work model (which also benefits from digitization, as we have discussed elsewhere). But no matter your circumstances, digitization will create appealing cost savings which could very possibly balance your budget.
To prove the bold claim in our headline, we’d have to prove a negative (which is impossible), but the very real probability exists that RFID has saved lives.
RFID is well known as a true labor-saving device. Manual inventories used to take days. RFID inventories take minutes. A single click of a handheld RFID reader identifies the contents of an entire room of furniture, equipment, books, parts, etc. Time-wasting manual check-out logs are replaced by doorway-mounted RFID readers that automatically track the movements of assets, from people to documents.
But saving time is only half of the RFID equation. The other half is accuracy.
An inaccurate inventory is a danger. Consider what an inaccurate manual inventory costs your business:
- Working capital is tied up: Businesses overbuy when their inventory is imprecise.
- Sales and customers are lost: Faulty inventories lead to stock-outs and disappointed customers.
- Write-offs are common: When inventory expires or goes missing, or when small incremental errors add up over time, the write-offs put a big dent in the balance sheet.
- Labor is wasted: Finding and fixing inventory errors requires many hours of additional labor.
Unreliable inventory data can put your business in a precarious financial position. However, the accuracy of RFID shields you from asset management disasters.
And sometimes it can even mean the difference between death:
- Using RFID, a hospital is able to maintain an adequate supply of a life-saving drug, and locate essential equipment and personnel the moment they are needed.
- A fire chief deploys real-time RFID to track the movements of each firefighter in a burning building, pulling them out of danger zones or sending in a rescue squad.
- In a chemical plant leak, RFID is used for headcounts at mustering points to ensure workers have been safely evacuated.
It’s possible that the hospital wouldn’t have run out of medicine, or the medical equipment would have been close at hand, or the firefighters or chemical plant workers would have exited safely. But guesswork and luck are no way to manage an operation, whether it’s the life of patients, workers, or your business.
Don’t fall victim to an inaccurate inventory. RFID will take your asset management from “maybe” to “for sure.” And that’s something we can prove.
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