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How to Transform Imprisoned Information into Business Assets

How to Transform Imprisoned Information into Business Assets

A Nintex study discovered that document-based information was among the top broken business processes in the U.S. Forty-nine percent of employees surveyed said they had trouble locating documents. Forty-one percent said they had trouble finding and pulling data from documents.  If you can’t find the document you need, or find the necessary data within that document, you’ve got imprisoned information.

Business information is a powerful asset. Gartner has identified 6 distinct measures of the value of information, as the table below illustrates. The financial measures of information assets are particularly applicable to paper vs. digital documents. In thinking about your company’s paper documents, what would it cost to lose documents and all the information they contain? More important, what does it cost if you can’t access the information and use it in a timely manner? If your business information is imprisoned on hard-to-locate paper, it’s an asset with very little value.

The first step to change imprisoned information into a valuable asset? Digitize the paper documents where the information resides. A simple scan of a paper document creates a digital PDF document. But a PDF scan doesn’t transform the information into an asset. It’s not much easier to find and use information on a PDF document than it is on a paper document.

Searchability is the key to unlocking imprisoned information.

Adding searchability to scanned documents requires a complex OCR (Optical Character Recognition) process. Once the digital documents complete the OCR process, the multi-page PDF’s are searchable. The information contained in the digital documents is easy to access and easy to find.

And with easy searchability, the information is no longer imprisoned. Searches are fast and accurate. Business decisions can be made quickly, with a high degree of confidence. And that’s worth money. The information is now a valuable asset, whether you focus on foundational measures or financial measures in the Gartner method.

Like any other asset, information should be securely guarded. Paper documents are vulnerable to fire, water, pests, and pilferage. Digital documents, however, are far more secure.

Simplicable.com defines “information asset” as a body of information that is of value to a business. No matter what those bodies of information are – strategies, operations, legal, R&D, and more – they gain value when the information is unlocked via digitization. Talk to a digitization consultant about this easy way to boost the value of your company’s assets.

 

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Too Good to be True: Real Art, Fake Art, and RFID

Too Good to be True: Real Art, Fake Art, and RFID

Art crime is the third highest-grossing criminal business in the world, according to Art Business News. Art can be forged. It can be stolen. It can even be “discounted” via price tag switching. In fact, art is subject to all the security issues of any retail product sold in department stores – but with a much, much higher price tag.

  • Fakery – Modern art in particular is a forger’s paradise, as portrayed in the documentary film “Made You Look.” Provenance (chain of custody) is important to art buyers, but imperfect provenance can be disregarded in the heat of an emotional purchase. In “Made You Look,” a single gallery owner was so eager to acquire works of noted modern artists that she overlooked their questionable provenance, resulting in a multi-year $80 million fraud.
  • Theft – Museums and private art collections aren’t the only places where fine art is found. Corporations, too, have significant investments in art. Deutsche Bank, for example, owns works by Kandisky, Mondrian, and Francis Bacon. Unlike heavily-guarded museums and private homes, these works are on office walls where they are far more vulnerable to theft. Although corporations avoid the negative publicity associated with a theft of one of their artworks, it is an unfortunately common occurrence.
  • Label Switching – Galleries don’t always display the prices of art works, but often a short-term exhibition will include pricing on or beside each piece. Fraudsters will distract the gallerist  while confederates change the price, then pressure the harassed gallerist into a quick sale at the fraudulent lower price.

However, collectors and gallerists are increasingly using RFID technology as a way to secure their art investments. RFID excels at asset tracking, providing real-time ongoing data about an asset’s name, location, origin, age, value, components, and its movements (historical and prospective). RFID tags are inconspicuous and don’t detract from the appearance of the art. They don’t damage the artworks in any way. Most important, they protect these priceless objects from loss.

Of course, fine art authentication and asset management is just one of the many ways in which RFID serves business owners. From facilities management to inventory management, ERP, and MES, the data supplied by RFID keeps enterprises productive and profitable. Talk to an RFID expert and learn about the benefits for your business.

 

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How to Make RFID Work for You: Improve Your RFIQ

How to Make RFID Work for You: Improve Your RFIQ

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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RFID Journal Announces the 2022 Annual Award Winners

RFID Journal Announces the 2022 Annual Award Winners

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!

We Can’t Exactly Prove It, but RFID Saves Lives

We Can’t Exactly Prove It, but RFID Saves Lives

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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Are Your Business Assets Past Their Sell-By Date?

Are Your Business Assets Past Their Sell-By Date?

Food producers are careful to include a conservative sell-by date on the products they sell. Everyone benefits; consumers aren’t disappointed or harmed by spoiled foods, and producers ensure their products live up to their brand.

The sell-by date isn’t confined to groceries, however. Every business has assets that eventually hit a critical date. Locating those assets and taking action by those dates can be labor-intensive and costly.

Labor-intensive and costly, that is, unless your business uses RFID for asset management. RFID technology is much more than a fancy inventory identification system. RFID chips can be programmed to contain all kinds of data about an object: when it was made, when it was put into service, when it needs maintenance, what kind of service it needs, when it should be replaced, and much more.

When queried, RFID software can generate a report about upcoming critical dates, sorted by asset type, or location, or required action. Imagine the amount of time and money saved by automatically tracking an asset’s location and critical dates.

This benefit applies in dozens of industry sectors. A few examples:

  • Food service – suppliers add RFID tags to boxes of perishables, so distributors and restaurants stay on top of freshness deadlines. Chipotle Restaurants is testing this technique in their Chicago restaurants’ supply chain.
  • Pharmaceuticals – RFID tags prevent the use of expired drugs. Pennsylvania’s Reading Hospital is tracking Covid vaccine expiration dates and times with RFID technology, to prevent waste of the vital and costly medication.
  • Business electronic devices – RFID tags attached to laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and copiers are routinely queried by the IT department to determine when they are due for maintenance. An additional query signals each device’s location, on site or off. The U.S. Army is using RFID to track the whereabouts of their office electronic devices and provide routine updates and maintenance.

Almost every business asset has a “sell-by” date of some kind. Furnishings eventually have to be replaced. Outdated computers have to be disposed of. Obsolete law books, old patient files, tax returns from the time of the dinosaurs – whatever they are, they have to go sooner or later. Know where they are, and know when their time is up, with RFID.

 

Photo © Iriana Shiyan / AdobeStock