Deploying an RFID system necessitates multiple actors and many different components. Typically, installing a system requires basic hardware-including tag chips, tag antennas, readers as well as reader control and application software, and solution providers to put it all together. When all of these components come together, an infinite number of creative applications are possible.

RFID Deployment

RFID system applications can help improve the quality of business operations, inventory and customer experience in a variety of industries. The most important issue to understand is that everything associated with RFID deployment is changing rapidly. Software, tag and reader designs, standards, and vendors are all in a state of flux, with many vendors and standards groups vying for supremacy.

It is important to develop a strong understanding of the technology’s challenges and opportunities right from the start. Use innovative thinking to discern potential applications for RFID in your operations. Our greatest returns will usually not come from simply automating current processes. General areas to consider include improvements in visibility, reductions in labor, and reduced theft and counterfeiting.

To develop a business case for your selected opportunities, you will need a well-defined plan that is clearly tied to your business objectives. Defining the system requirements, establishing costs, and developing clear expectations for ROI (e.g., where, how much, how long will it take, etc.) will help you accomplish this step.

Several factors should be carefully considered as you develop your road map. How will your company absorb and deploy the technology, and will the market be able to support these activities? Is the project based on customer-driven demand? Consider your supply network ? how do you bring products to the marketplace and how would you deploy the technology based on your topology? What about transaction volumes and infrastructure?

The road map you build for RFID deployment will be very similar to those for other technology deployments. However, make sure you include time and any necessary support for unique RFID issues such as tag placement, reader/antennae placement, orientation and attenuation, and environmental testing. In most cases, expertise in these disciplines will not reside within your company.

Before mounting a full-scale RFID implementation, it is critically important to conduct meticulous product tests in a real-world environment. Companies must define optimal technology combinations during product testing (i.e., various types of tags, readers, and business software). A complicating factor is the changing vendor and technology landscape. Make sure your technology selections will still be appropriate at time of deployment. Design contingency plans to deal with potential changes.

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