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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.

 

Photo © zmijak / AdobeStock

Be Careful What You Ask For. You Just Might Get It.

Be Careful What You Ask For. You Just Might Get It.

The pandemic revealed that remote work was not only possible, it was productive. And it was appealing to employees. They leveraged the Great Resignation to keep on working remotely, or at least working on a flexible hybrid schedule. Remote and hybrid work had benefits for employers, too, who downsized their offices and reduced overhead. It was a win for everyone.

Now that employers and employees have what they asked for, how is it working out?

The results are mixed. Although 83% of employees want a hybrid workplace, a recent report from JLL Global Research found that hybrid workers don’t feel properly supported in their new workstyle. The open office design is not optimal, particularly for staffers who come to the office expecting to do focused, heads-down work. Some find hot-desking to be problematic. For others, information access is a problem; teams on flexible schedules have difficulty sharing documents and other print resources, especially when those documents are removed to home offices.

Managers and administrators are tinkering with adjustments to office layouts and scheduling apps, but some technologies, digital document technology in particular, are proving their value in companies with hybrid operations.

In one example reported by the Washington Post, a construction company discovered that hybrid work gave them a competitive advantage. The company “had never considered a hybrid or remote model for the 40-plus back-office employees … But when the pandemic hit, the company adapted, jettisoning cumbersome workflows that required staff to pass files around the office, and adopting a streamlined cloud provider.”

That new information flow has allowed the company to expand their operations from a single urban region to a multi-state territory. Moreover, not one employee has been lost to the Great Resignation. The Washington Post doesn’t specify the dollar value of increased sales and reduced hiring and training costs, but the benefits are apparent.

Any unplanned change takes time and testing to work out the kinks, and pandemic-pushed hybrid workstyles are no exception. Your business, like others, may be trying out a variety of imaginative solutions – mandated in-office days, more enclosed offices,  or one of the many workstation-scheduling apps. But document digitization needs no trial period to prove its worth. Ask a business owner who has moved from paper to digital operations, then talk to a digitization professional. With digital document technology, you will solve one of the hybrid-operations conundrums – information access – and set your business up for future success.

 

Photo © Robert Kneschke / AdobeStock

If You’re Tired of Inflation, RFID Has a Solution

If You’re Tired of Inflation, RFID Has a Solution

Inflation is the hot topic these days. A perfect storm of bad weather, a pandemic, armed conflict, and supply chain breakdowns have put a price squeeze on consumers and businesses alike. There’s plenty of blame to go around, but finger-pointing isn’t a solution. Instead, smart business leaders are looking to their own operations for ways to mitigate inflationary pressures.

One of those solutions is technology, in the form of better information, increased efficiencies, less waste, and speedier actions. RFID technology in particular addresses these needs, and it’s a tech solution that already exists in many operations. From logistics and retail to healthcare, pharma, public safety, and education, RFID counts objects and tracks their movements with unmatched speed and accuracy.

Here’s how RFID combats inflation:

  • Accurate information – RFID’s inventory accuracy approaches 98%, far above any handcount. With accurate information, over-ordering is eliminated, saving time, storage space, and money at a time when conserving funds is exceptionally important. With RFID, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, for instance, doesn’t have to contract for extra warehouse space and over-order in case their inventory isn’t accurate.
  • Increased efficiencies – RFID tracks supplies from manufacturer to storage to user, creating an early-warning system for potential stock shortages. Managers can adjust their order timing to account for uncertain supply chains, keeping adequate supplies on hand for operations at all times. Hospitals, for example, can keep a steady supply of medications flowing from their in-house pharmacies into the hands of patients.
  • Less waste – RFID provides aging information as well as quantity and location. Whether a business is working with perishables like foods or drugs, or longer-lived items like durable equipment, using operational inventory in a timely manner prevents waste. Return on inventory investment stays high, and inventory losses (and costs) stay low.
  • Fast actions – RFID is constantly monitoring an inventory’s quantity, location, and age and delivering actionable data. Managers can react quickly to any opportunity, whether it’s incoming supplies or outgoing products.

Inflation is, in part, a consequence of actions out of our control. RFID puts you back in charge of the things you can control. Use its data to manage better, and stand up to inflation.

 

Photo by ajr_images ©  / AdobeStock

How a Hybrid Workplace Grew a New Corporate Culture

How a Hybrid Workplace Grew a New Corporate Culture

While the rest of us have been obsessing about what hybrid workplaces are doing to corporate culture, one D.C.-headquartered office has been quietly getting on with the transition. And in the process, they’ve created a hybrid-office proof of concept: With good planning, good design, and employee input, corporate culture is even stronger and more positive than before.

Journalist Rasheeda Childress recently reported on a national association’s shift to a hybrid workspace. The association was looking at new office space when the pandemic hit, and like everyone, they flipped to remote work. In conversations with employees, leadership realized that that a permanent shift in office life was in the works.

Based on employee input, the association established an updated set of criteria for their new offices, with flexible scheduling in mind. Now the association’s new space includes reservable “hoteling” offices as well as dedicated offices, with an overall space reduction of more than 15%. To address corporate culture, they established new employee designations designed to remove manager bias regarding staff productivity. Employees were classified as “resident workers,” in the office at least 3 days per week, or “teleworkers,” in the office at least 1 day per week.

The association’s director has discovered that connectedness is the secret to the organization’s successful transition to hybrid. He reports that his staff interactions have radically increased; he and his staff have to “wander around” to find the person they need to speak with, and in the course of the search, have serendipitous conversations with a dozen other people. Staff events, like a weekly free lunch, ensure employees have frequent interactions with people outside their team bubbles.

At NOS, we’ve been promoting the value of connectedness for some time. Digitization is part of the connected-culture picture. Document conversion gives teams access to documents wherever they are. Teams stay connected whether they’re in-office or working from home. Everyone is included, and everyone’s work is optimized.

Productivity and effectiveness rely on connection, and document accessibility supports connection. If your employees are telling you they want the flexibility of a hybrid workplace, consider this association’s path: Listen to employees’ ideas, work with designers to create flexible physical space, and provide technology and opportunities that promote connectedness. Your corporate culture will change for the better.

Photo © fizkes / AdobeStock

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.

Photo © mongkolchen / AdobeStock

Getting Ahead of the Life Sciences Compliance Curve

Getting Ahead of the Life Sciences Compliance Curve

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.

 

Photo © foxyburrow / AdobeStock