Congratulations! You’ve made the wise decision to incorporate RFID into your business operations. Now what?
Your business may already be using RFID in one area – inventory management, for example. Now you’re expanding your RFID system into your manufacturing operations, or adding RFID security to your office and storage access.
Or RFID may be completely new to your organization, and you’re starting with, say, a personnel proximity tracking system to maintain social distance and analyze workflows.
Whether RFID is a trusted tool or an unknown quantity, new systems brings change. And without a plan for change management, your exciting new technology might become a dust-catching doorstop.
Keep a laser-like focus on your goals for your new RFID system. Quoted in RFID Journal, Cougar Automation Technology’s New Projects Manager Alix Russell says you should avoid getting “tag-happy,” forcing your operations to fit your RFID tags’ capabilities. Instead, RFID systems should be designed to fit your operations.
Russell recommends taking a systems change management approach, following these 8 steps to ensure successful RFID integration:
- Define the objectives– Be specific about what you want to achieve. “Better inventory control” is too broad; “accurate automated daily reports” is specific.
- Educate the team– Include the entire team, top to bottom, in the information loop, and ask for their feedback. You’ll get valuable insights, and you’ll certainly get their buy-in if they feel included.
- Plan for business-case data– RFID offers quantifiable benefits: greater efficiency and less shrinkage, for example. These benefits mean dollars. Prepare to capture data about these benefits, calculate ROI, and make your business case.
- Determine the technology– Based on your objectives, work with your RFID vendor to identify the right type of RFID to fit your objectives (see #1 above).
- Execute a pilot– A trial run in a single location or department lets stakeholders experience the reality of RFID without a company-wide commitment.
- Analyze the pilot’s results– Review the pilot’s benefits data (see #2 above), and tweak the system to avoid any speed bumps and swerves discovered during the pilot. This is the time to adjust the plan.
- Roll out– Install your new RFID system in all planned locations. This step includes familiarizing staff with the new procedures and policies, and troubleshooting any human error that might short-circuit a successful roll out.
- Monitor and adjust– Continue capturing usage and benefits data. Work with your RFID vendor to see where adjustments would make even greater improvements.
As with any complex technology, successful implementation of RFID is a team effort. In house, it’s vital to involve stakeholders from Day One. Outside the organization, it’s essential to collaborate with an experienced RFID vendor.
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