RFID asset management – expectations vs reality

RFID asset management – expectations vs reality

RFID technology has become more affordable and approachable however with any successful project, it is important to identify the ROI opportunity, assess the requirements, plan the system and implement the solution.

Focusing on the efficiencies and cost savings goals will drive the success of your RFID asset management project and improve your asset management processes. A targeted pilot program will successfully prove the solution and often yields changes to project scope to achieve greater value from the RFID implementations.

With RFID it is not a matter of one size fits all, the tags and readers that you use will depend upon the environment, asset types and the outcome you require.

The major benefit of using RFID tags is that they do not require line of sight to be registered reducing time considerably.

RFID is actually a bundle of technologies

  1. Hardware selection such as fixed readers and their antennas and hand-held readers
  2. RFID tags active or passive
  3. RFID reader software
  4. Asset register system for asset tracking and management

Reasons why RFID is now viable

  1. Tags both passive and active are cheaper to purchase
  2. Readers are more powerful with longer read range and cheaper to purchase
  3. Tags are less sensitive with respect to the surface they are placed on

RFID readers and tags

RFID readers can either be fixed (attached to doorways) or hand-held for mobility. There are two types of RFID tags, passive (no battery) and active (battery powered) that can transmit at larger distances. The type of fixed readers and tag to be considered will be dependent on the location point (height, width and surface to be mounted on) and cost (passive tags are cheaper than active tags). With RFID it is not a matter of one size fits all, the tags and readers that you use will depend upon the environment, asset types and the outcome you require.

Hardcat RFID doorway reader with CCTV

Hardcat RFID doorway reader with CCTV

RFID triggering CCTV important deterrent in areas without physical security

Fixed RFID readers installed at prominent entry and exit points (unmanned or manned locations) will automatically detect assets and people moving in and out of these doorways.

A CCTV image is triggered by the RFID fixed readers for people do not comply with the requirements of the organisation. Entering a location after normal working hours or having assets that are not assigned to them will trigger an alert, record their image sending directly to the security desk.

Hardcat RFID and CCTV security

Accurate data and ROI with RFID asset management

As with any successful project, it is important to identify the Return On Investment (ROI) opportunity, assess the requirements, plan the system and implement the solution.

Focusing on the efficiencies and cost savings goals will drive the success of your RFID project and improve your asset management processes.

RFID provides a saving of $10K per data center inventory.  Given 10 data centres and two inventories/audits per year, totalling 20 inventories per year, the expected ROI is $200K per year. Instead of justifying RFID, evaluate the business goals for accurate data, and justify those. 

Understanding your RFID asset management requirements

How precise must location data be?  Does the data need to be real-time?  Does the data need to be 100% accurate? Do you need to incorporate barcoded assets into your asset register as well?

Start small and generate a proof-of-concept that can be expanded to more complex workflows. Start with one challenge in your organisation or start with tracking an asset class that may deliver the greatest ROI on your efforts.

Conducting a pilot will save your organisation thousands of dollars which may be spent to RFID tags not suitable for the asset(s) and/or environment they are working in. A pilot will allow you to choose the volumes and combination of hardware most suitable to achieve your business outcomes.

Having complete visibility of your assets allows you to make informed decisions relating to asset purchases, and can reduce your insurance premiums by more than 30%.

Will you choose active or passive tags for RFID asset management?

Passive tags don’t have a power source built-in and are powered from the signal carried by the RFID reader. Active tags have a built-in power source, and their behaviour can be compared to a beacon, can operate at a greater distance and at higher data rates. However, they have a limited life (longevity of battery) and higher cost. For a lower cost of implementation, passive tags are a worthy solution and generally more suitable for indoor positioning.

Tracking aspects other than location and movement, and integrating with enterprise systems, ensures that multiple functions and levels of management can be involved and the results are measurable.

RFID asset management and tracking

It’s no surprise that asset tracking is one of the most common uses of RFID. Companies can put RFID tags on assets that are often lost or stolen, that are underutilised or that are just hard to locate at the time they are needed. Just about every type of RFID system is used for asset management.

Types of RFID applications

You want your asset tracking processes to use more business data and decisions. Therefore you need your business processes and systems to understand these movements so they can provide better visibility and efficiency; this is where a comprehensive asset management system comes into play.

RFID asset management will support your organisation in improving the storing of inventory, stock, parts and assigning of assets to people. Will search and find assets quickly and automatically capture movements in real-time.

Hardcat recommends a site visit by one of our consultants to look at your environment as well as your required solution. With RFID it is not a matter of one size fits all, the tags and readers that you use will depend upon the environment, asset types and the outcome you require.

  • Asset Budgeting
  • Asset Lifecycle Management
  • Audit Trail
  • Barcoding / RFID
  • Depreciation Management
  • Disposal Management
  • Document Management
  • Inventory Tracking
  • Tax Management

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