RFID real-world asset tracking case studies
RFID tracking applications are advantageous across a broad range of industries. With technology providing new and exciting opportunities for increasing organisational, financial, and operational performance. Focusing on organisational efficiency and effectiveness, RFID technology is superior to barcodes in its ability to provide source automation features that increase the speed and volume of data collection for analysis.
Very low cost in RFID infrastructure maintenance
Except for the initial cost of installing RFID tracking applications (RFID tags and readers), there is a very low cost involved in maintaining your RFID infrastructure.
The requirements for using RFID technology will vary depending on your business situation. For example, some organisations use RFID tracking applications for:
- Automating existing manual processes
- Logistics and supply chain visibility
- Item level inventory tracking
- Materials management
- IT and equipment tracking
- Tool tracking
- Document tracking
- To increase profitability from assets
- Compliance and audit reasons
Choosing tags for your RFID application
With passive RFID tag solutions, the reader and reader antenna send a signal to the tag, and that signal is used to power on the tag and reflect energy back to the reader. Passive tags are usually smaller, less expensive, and more flexible than active tags. This means they can be attached or even embedded on a wider variety of objects. Passive UHF tags are commonly used for item-level tracking.
Asset tags made from various materials and for various surfaces are used in just about every industry. The types of tags range from the humble Barcode label to QR (Quick Response) codes, RFID, GPS or Wi-Fi technology.
The purpose of using RFID tracking applications and tagging your valuable assets, tools and equipment is to reduce human error, reduce asset “misplacement” and automate certain business processes.
Hardcat RFID Success Stories
The types of organisations using RFID tracking applications in their environments vary. From supply chain management to laboratory sample tracking and operational safety equipment control.
Here are some examples of how Hardcat solutions and RFID is used in real-world applications. So use these applications to spark your creative juices, and use RFID in your own solutions!
Manufacturing and tool tracking
The Problem: – a major industry technology plant that generates revenues of more than 960 million Australian dollars per annum in Oceania was having issues with finding the correct tools for their manufacturing process. Many staff-hours were spent searching for the tools. This was the cause of production downtime. The engineers who need to use the tools as part of their R&D design and engineering work require specialist tools. Not being able to find them meant lost time and productivity.
The Solution: – They purchased the Hardcat asset management solution with RFID tags being placed on all their tools. Using the Hardcat handheld mobile RFID reader, the users were able to scan a location, listening to the pinging sound (similar to a Geiger counter). When the sound was at its loudest, the user came to the tool that they were looking for.
Time to find tools was reduced from hours to minutes which created a saving of costs in several areas. The solution enabled staff to locate the required tools easier and quicker. This increased productivity and a reduction in loss of time.
Healthcare and equipment audits
With approximately 880 movable assets, this organisation opted to tag all of their assets with UHF RFID tags. They use one RFID handheld ATiD scanner to conduct monthly asset verification exercises, which now take approximately two to three hours.
With the exercise covering the entire building, Hardcat has increased our asset audit process efficiently and significantly.
Read more: healthcare asset tracking
Laboratory samples and movement tracking
This institute uses a combination of RFID tags and barcode labels on their 4500 plus assets. They utilise fixed RFID readers with the Hardcat “Sentinel” software at certain key areas (entrances/exits) to manage the movement of specifically identified critical assets between identified locations. They also employ handheld RFID scanners to conduct planned and “spot-check” verification exercises.
The Hardcat “notifications” feature alerts key personnel to the movement of these assets for security, tracking and reporting purposes.
Read more: RFID asset tracking – sentinel
Law enforcement and operational equipment tracking
Several major Australian police forces are using Hardcat RFID solutions to increase efficiencies when it comes to tracking, auditing and creating daily visibility of their critical ‘armoury’ assets (weapons and other operational safety equipment items).
The Hardcat RFID solutions used is a combination of ‘fixed RFID’ antennas and readers as well as mobile readers. This allows them to not only conduct the day-to-day tasks that police forces have of ‘issue and return’ of firearms and the like but also for speed when it comes to ‘auditing’ thousands of firearms within an armoury.
One major Australian police force with almost 10,000 strong officer base estimated that the cost of conducting these crucial functions manually cost the force over $3.5Million per annum in lost time that could be used to put officers in the community.
Read more: law enforcement asset management
Law enforcement RFID applications; self-serve kiosks
A major Australian police force will be using the Hardcat system as a wall-mounted solution to create a “self-issue and self-return RFID Kiosk”. Then, depending on the size of the station and number of officers during shift changeovers, they will be able to speed up the process of issue and return by provisioning as many ‘kiosks’ as they like to have concurrent transactions occurring.
The ‘Kiosk’ will save an enormous amount of time and create visibility of the transactions (what is being scanned in and out of the equipment room and to whom) for verification.
100% accuracy whilst creating efficiency and allowing more time for police to do what they most prefer – being out in the field assisting the public.
Hospital RFID applications; medical equipment locator
A children’s hospital employs the Hardcat handheld RFID solution on their more expensive, as well as mobile equipment. The value of the assets managed by the Hardcat solution exceeds a half-billion Rand.
Being imperative we can locate specific critical equipment, the Hardcat RFID “locator” feature goes a long way in ensuring items are found quickly.
Read more: medical equipment asset management
Technology company RFID applications; tools and container tracking
The Problem: – This technology company’s Power Generation Division has various projects on go at any given time around Australia and globally. For each project, a shipping container pre-packed with a defined list of specialist tools is loaded and shipped to the project site for the duration of the project.
The tools in the shipping containers are available to team members to utilise and return as they require them. The shipping containers were unmanned, providing a self-service procedure with staff utilising tools they required for the job they were performing.
The problem was, although a list of the assets was registered at the time the shipping container was packed, they did not return with a full inventory of packed assets. The shipping containers were always missing assets when they returned from a site. This could average to a total value of around $100K per project of lost/missing tools.
Prior to the shipping container being transported to the project site, the assets were registered against the specific container and project/site. During the pilot project, the fixed RFID readers outside the container tracked every piece of equipment coming in and out of the container providing superior audit and equipment visibility.
The project team are now able to conduct daily speedy audits using mobile RFID scanners to quickly identify any missing equipment and locate them. When the shipping container came back, they were quickly able to identify what was missing and where it was last seen.
The Solution: – After selecting the Hardcat tool management solution combined with fixed RFID readers positioned at the door to the shipping container. Each employee on site was issued an RFID tag which was placed on their Staff ID cards. When an employee entered the container to retrieve or return a tool, the fixed reader detected both the Staff member and the tools being either taken or returned to the container.
The RFID personnel and assets together with the Hardcat software meant that Hardcat was able to keep a track of the recognition of the daily transactions by site personnel providing full accountability and visibility over the tools being utilised by everyone.
Before the shipping container returned back from the project site, speedy audits were conducted using the Hardcat software and specialist RFID scanners to quickly identify what assets were missing and allow site manager opportunity to locate any missing assets prior to container leaving. Any missing asset historical records highlighted who was last seen with the tools. Another full audit of the container was conducted when the container returned back to home base, for full accountability.
There were multiple benefits to the solution which included an automated process for tracking tools combined with an audit process to get onto any missing assets quickly and knowing where to look. The main benefit was that at the end of the project, there was only one item found to missing which was last seen after it was loaded onto the shipping container and valued at $100. Cost savings of almost $100,000 per project.
Read more: RFID asset tracking – sentinel
Research facility sensitive documents and samples tracking
A major research facility is using RFID asset management to successfully track their sensitive documents and medical product samples, throughout its large facility. Every item has to follow a strict auditing process within the company, and also for the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).
Hardcat’s RFID software and fixed readers immediately recognise the actual movement of documents and provide real-time reporting with a complete audit trail.Why is document tracking a challenge