CAPITALIZING ON INCOMING RFID DATA
If you don’t know it already, RFID is one of the major factors through which businesses can improve their operations. With data immediately at the fingertips, it gives businesses the means to make improved decisions quickly, whilst also sharpening their competitive edge.
RFID has proven itself as part of the emerging Internet of Things’ (IOT) backbone, providing constant asset traceability and updates on the world around us.
How data helps businesses
Simply put, RFID tracking solutions are the shift businesses needed towards greater mobility, changing the way businesses collect the data they need. It’s a means towards helping a business’ management make the important decisions that will affect their growth faster, more efficiently, and with more accurate information.
Once an RFID system has been installed and set up, it isn’t enough simply to see what data is coming in. The major question to ask here is: how can, and should, a business capitalize on that data, now that they have it?
For example, think of the retail store that depends on the data that comes in, in real time, to keep its supply chain efficient. It isn’t simply enough to see where there are potential shortfalls in supply to their stores – if no action is taken, potential shortfalls in profits and a shaky bottom line will remain.
RFID tags track the movement of products as they move, from entering the warehouse all the way through to the point of sales (POS). Because businesses gain greater data visibility, information can be accessed either locally or as part of a centralized database.
At each point, retailers will see details such as:
- Where the products are;
- How much of each asset is moving;
- What time periods there is likely to be a large movement of assets;
- And, at what point they should order more stock for a particular item.
This information arms retailers with the finer details they need to respond quickly to customer/market demand, whilst investing their capital where it is needed most.
In turn, this access to data ensures that the retailer:
- Has all the accurate information they need to rapidly make informed decisions;
- The supply chain remains unaffected as businesses can take action as soon as potential shortfalls occur;
- Customers can still buy products, as there will be no “out of stock” items –making sure, as a result, that the retailer’s bottom line is not affected;
- Retailers can adjust how they spend according to the data coming in – meaning they can maintain profits whilst catering to consumer demands.
Case Study: Fishers Laundry Group
A case study in point comes from the website rfid24-7.com, which recently reported on how RFID data and asset tracking solutions can be used to a business’ benefit. A recent agreement between commercial laundry and textile rental business, Fishers Laundry Group, and Scotland’s University of Strathclyde is working towards helping Fishers keep tabs on their assets.
As a leading commercial laundry and textile company serving Scotland and the North East of England, Fishers relies on helpings its customers keep track of their textiles. Under a “Knowledge Transfer Partnership” with the University of Strathclyde, the company has embedded their bed linen and towels with RFID technology that tells them how much stock they have and where these items are.
This new system now also helps Fishers undertake continuous checks on how much stock they hold and where items are as they go through the laundry system. Considering there are up to 2 million items going through the company’s washing, delivery and collection cycle every week, it certainly helps to keep an eye on things!
In turn, the partnership has given Fishers greater capabilities in:
- Analyzing the data generated by the RFID tags and to capitalize on the data coming in;
- Improve the company’s strategic planning relating to textile purchases;
- Helping the company develop Intellectual Property (IP).
Fishers’ use of integrating RFID data back into their business plan is just one example of how RFID tracking can positively affect companies. With this system effectively in place, businesses can effectively enhance the way they operate, reduce labor costs and improve the accuracy of their inventory.