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Automation technologies, according to McKinsey Global, can be applied to 64 percent of data collection and 69 percent of data processing. The more data-heavy an operation, the more it benefits from automation.

If you’re a facilities management professional, you deal with a lot of data, a vast number of physical assets from furniture and art, to tools and materials. Maintaining an inventory of all these assets is a labor-intensive, error-prone task if each individual item has to be physically located and manually counted. Far faster and more accurate than manual methods, RFID is an ideal automation solution for asset management.

You may be considering adding RFID to your other automated systems. But moving from a manual system to an RFID system can feel very risky without any guidelines to follow.

John Rimer, writing in, outlines the steps to choosing the best technology for facilities management, including asset management systems. His roadmap recommends:

  1. Identify the stakeholders – senior management, human resources, finance, and end users – and determine the impact the asset management technology will have on their work. Ideally, everyone will benefit from the new technology.
  2. Examine the workflow for your facility’s asset management, and look for problem areas. Are there duplications of effort? Inaccuracies? Incomplete communications? Safety issues? Then, define your target workflow, one that asset management technology can help to achieve.
  3. Develop system requirements that fit the target workflow needs. The primary need for your workflow may be quantities – quantities on hand, or in use, or expended. Or your workflow may be oriented toward location – where assets are located in any part of your facilities. Your RFID solution should be designed for your specific workflow.
  4. Research potential providers by talking to colleagues, attending industry conferences, and talking to third-party experts. Set specifications for your ideal vendor – areas of expertise, years in business, product lines, etc. – and create a short list of vendors who fit your requirements.
  5. Solicit proposals from the vendors on your short list, including your goals for the technology, and a detailed scope of work. Remember: the lowest bid isn’t always the best bid, and a bargain price may be masking a lack of functionality or robustness.
  6. Interview top candidates, and give them a “script” of several tasks which their technology should be able to solve. Then observe a demo of their solution for these tasks, looking particularly for ease of use, flexibility, and intuitiveness.
  7. Negotiate the contract with the successful candidate, and work with them to develop an implementation plan.

Key takeaways from this roadmap:

  • Determine your organization’s unique needs.
  • Define and quantify the benefits to the entire organization.
  • Choose the best vendor to meet your needs now and in the future.

Your FM operation is one of a kind. The ideal RFID technology vendor will be willing to consult with you to determine the best system for your workflow needs and the stakeholders’ goals, prior to any sale. Choose a vendor who can customize the technology to fit your unique needs, one who will stand by you, and stand behind their products, for the long term.


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