RFID has become widespread in manufacturing, and it's a tested technology that is having a significant impact on operations management and can deliver fast paybacks on investment. But it can also make a huge impact on service businesses. How can you tell if RFID is right for you?
1. RFID saves time
First of all, if bottlenecks or poor inventory control are preventing you increasing the throughput of your service facilities, RFID could be for you. RFID tagging reduces time spent searching for items to meet customer requirements and can help to eliminate congestion. Tracking fleet, whether that's service staffs' vans and cars, or transportation vehicles, can also help to improve the utilisation of your assets, as well as guarding against theft.
2. Stop Inventory Loss
Secondly, if loss of inventory is a concern, RFID tagging can reduce wastage and loss. For instance, tags for perishable goods could include temperature logs and date information to help reduce spoilage, while movable items like beer kegs can be tagged to track their movements and potentially recover lost items.
3. Shorten Transaction Time
How long do your transactions take? Many car parks and toll booths have huge queues because each transaction is lengthy, requiring motorists to use physical tickets, plus cash or credit cards, to pay for their usage. Using RFID in such circumstances can dramatically cut the time to process each transaction, getting traffic moving. That could also help in busy retail outlets.
4. Paper Systems are Becoming Things of the Past
Do you have problems with logging and recording customer service data? Again RFID can help to reduce the cost of poor quality, particularly where paper systems can be replaced. Disputes over whether a service has been provided, or the number of billable hours, can be avoided by using RFID tags for staff or machinery.
5. Improve Customer Service
If you are thinking about moving to enable customer self-service, RFID could be an important part of that move. The Swedish Post Office now helps customers track their parcels through RFID, enhancing customer service as well as helping reduce the amount of lost mail. Some university libraries now use RFID to allow users to check out books themselves, freeing up library staff to answer queries.
6. The Importance of Security and Safety
Finally, if security and safety are important to you, RFID can offer a way of tracking people. You may need to keep tabs on staff in dangerous environments such as mines or large construction sites, or to stop children on outward bound courses wandering off. RFID tags are a simple way to ensure everyone is safe.
RFID can have a fast payback - in many cases less than a year. It may not help high value, low volume service providers - but if you provide a high volume service, or own assets that need to be tracked, it can contribute to higher profitability and help you provide a better service as well.