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RFID as a DIY solution? No, and here's why...

by Peck Sidara

The problem

Your company manufactures a distinguishing set of active noise canceling headphones. The quality of your brand rivals the most expensive set but sells for 50% less. The body around the speakers are made of exotic woods and customers can get their set custom laser engraved for a nominal fee.

A patent was granted for the technological advances in the circuitry and sales are through the roof. Congratulations to you and the development team for bringing a game changing product to market. Life is good…

Production is now operating around the clock to keep up with demand and preparation for the upcoming holiday season. An investment into expensive equipment and tools assures quality and consistency. One troubling production issue involves tools and equipment getting damaged, lost or aren’t being calibrated as frequently as needed. You’re continually having to reinvest capital back into equipment and tools. Production output is greatly hindered due to supervisors and employees spending too much time searching for and sharing tools as well as continually calibrating and testing equipment needed for production.


The Solution?

You decide to implement an asset tracking initiative using RFID technology to track who had the asset last, where it is, where it should be, and when it needs to be calibrated. A bonus would be the ability to check out tools and equipment to employees on an as needed basis for each shift.

You’ve got a sharp team of engineers that have successfully developed and launched projects way more complicated than this, so you decide to purchase all of the needed equipment and implement the tracking system on your own. How hard can it be?

· There are a multitude of RFID tag suppliers. You pick one based on a few compatibility questions.

· There are several well-known, branded RFID reader manufacturers. You pick one that is middle range in price, the right color, and backed with a warranty.

· There are commercially off the shelf antennas you can install throughout the facility and at exit points to track last known location and whether your assets are leaving the building. You talk to a customer service rep and choose one of those as well.

· Next, you need software to enroll assets, check assets in and out of inventory, do inventory, report and log maintenance schedules. Wow- so many open source and low-cost options! You select one that gets great reviews, has development tools, and has someone to reach out to in case of questions.

You feel pretty good about yourself and your project, except...

One Month Later... Uh Oh...

· Some RFID tags don’t scan at all when they’re placed on the asset. They seem to scan just fine when placed in open air, or on a table. Is the RFID signal reflecting, deflecting or attenuated? What's going on here?

· Antennas throughout facility and exit points aren’t working correctly- they’re not picking up tag reads when assets pass by. Is the problem in the tag, tuning of antenna, location of tag on assets and how it passes under or by an antenna?

· Antennas are picking up too many reads, bogging down network traffic.

· Inventory - you’re picking up tag reads from assets located in adjacent rooms.

What to do? Who can help? This wasn't as easy as you thought.

You Need Asset Tracking Professionals

Managers, supervisors and employees aren’t accepting the newly implemented solution. The general opinion is that the new software is difficult to use and not in sync with production workflow processes. The software on the RFID reader doesn’t sync with the newly developed software your team has written. The screen size of reader is too small to add assets, edit maintenance notes, or log inventory counts efficiently.

Some organizations have had great success implementing their own RFID asset tracking solution. But conversely, many end up investing  a lot of time and resources only to find themselves beholden to errors, malfunctions and wasted time spent troubleshooting.

The truth is, there are too many things that can go wrong when trying to implement your own asset tracking solution.

What You Should Have Done

Do what you do best and leave RFID asset management and inventory to the experts at EnaSys. There is no asset tracking dilemma that EnaSys cannot solve, no industry it cannot benefit, and no asset it cannot track. Ease your mind by presenting us with your asset tracking need, and letting us create a solution. It's what we do best.

Contact our asset tracking professionals today.

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