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Whether you’re managing life sciences research, product manufacturing, or a professional-services practice, process is at the heart of any successful business operation.

Waste and inefficiency inevitably lead to a downward spiral in profits, as proponents of Lean and Six Sigma have said for years. Some experts cite studies showing:

  • Teams spend almost 30% of their time on finding data and doing menial tasks rather than conducting analysis.
  • 64% of a sales rep’s counted hours are spent doing things that don’t contribute to the company’s bottom line.
  • 50% of companies also spend between $5 to $25 on manually processed invoices.

Improving processes is one of the keys to enhanced earnings. Writing in Industry Week, Jason Piatt outlines 6 criteria that go into a “good” process – one that improves operations, productivity, and throughput. Not surprisingly, RFID fits into each of these six criteria:

  1. A good process should be simple, to avoid opportunities for error. RFID tags and doorway or handheld RFID readers provide easy and error-free tracking and inventories.
  2. A good process should be robust, ready to handle unexpected environmental or emergency situations. RFID tags withstand extreme temperatures and can assist in emergency locational tracking of products and personnel.
  3. A good process should be documented to maintain accuracy and information integrity. RFID systems output periodic reports providing confirmation of other system’s documentation, such as ERP and MISys.
  4. A good process should be controlled so activities are repetitive and identical. RFID systems can be polled on a set schedule, conducted the same way every time, so areas of improvement can be identified.
  5. A good process should be communicated among all parties up and down the line. RFID’s data can easily be shared among other systems and reported to stakeholders, adding transparency and accountability to the process.
  6. A good process is error-proofed, with safeguards for novice-user mistakes. Because an RFID system is simple to use, it protects against the errors typically found in manual inventories and tracking.

Process is not merely a step-by-step series of activities. It is a deliberately designed sequence leading to delivery. A good process is flexible and test-able. It builds on test results to yield continuous improvements. Incorporate RFID into your operational process and move toward a good process.

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