Frits often cites the relatively simple example of an RFIDdirect proof of concept, “One customer wanted a cheap and cheerful paper UHF RFID label on metal. This simply doesn’t work. But to make the application successful we tested with a neoprene layer underneath the label. It worked”.
Reasons to Test: Have a Go – Take a Risk!
If you do take a risk, you never know what might happen. Testing for proof of concept is an important part of developing a successful business case for Automatic Identification and Data Capture. The process starts with understanding the application – thinking beyond just ‘label replacement’. Questions must be: where data is captured, at what efficiency rate and costs; not forgetting the key question, why and what is to be achieved with an RFID application?
RFIDdirect is prepared to “take risks”; if we receive a feasible application request from any customer, we are willing to discuss this face to face, complete some basic, initial tests – even if this takes a day (or more) travelling.
Overcoming Cost Concerns
Many business contacts start with the question, “What does RFID cost?”. RFIDdirect’s answer is always we don’t know – simply because there is no RFID tag or label that fits all jobs. We suppose it would be similar to asking carpenters which metal screws and nails are in their tool box, the answer is always ‘many’ – no single one fits all jobs. RFID tags, RFID labels and smart-labels are made with a specific application in mind. There is no RFID tag or label that is universal fit. For example, compared with a barcode label, an RFID label – or smart label – will always be more expensive.
If you use, in a logistic operation, 100,000 labels per month, the investment in consumables for barcode labels is limited to approximately £ 500. However, the investment in replacement smart labels will be at least £ 7,000 – but then consider the overall long -term saving and added value you achieve by using smart-labels in process improvements alone?
As an example: scanning a pallet with 48 boxes with a barcode; 3 second per barcode will cost you 2½ minute per pallet, plus the manual time to approach every barcode individually. It slows the process down. Using smart-labels (UHF RFID technology) the whole pallet can be scanned instantly whilst moving through a portal. Not only providing the SSCC code of the pallet, but all the unique product codes and relevant serial number in a single scan. This provides you the start of your business case and investment discussion.
Small Changes, Big Impact
Investing in a new technology that could potentially have positive ROI, is indeed a risk a company should carefully consider. But also, a company must keep in mind that investing a reasonable amount in the beginning could result in longer-term financial and business success. Time and effort, particularly in any digital transformation project, could prove ‘life-saving’ (in terms of finance, yes, but more literally too).
To explain further; in the future, many companies will face new testing and certification regulations for specific products resulting in a demand for more rigorous, life cycle asset tracing. Creating greater digital connectivity and interactions between assets, machines, and people is aimed at delivering step changes in productivity, customisation and sustainability.
Testing for Good
Helen Hewitt (CE of British Woodworking Federation), recently reported positive news for UK fire door manufacturers, and those concerned about long-term safety of homes and public buildings. She states that the emphasis on the government’s ‘Building a Safer Future’ plan would;
“Reinforce the introduction of a more effective regulatory framework, greater accountability, (supported by clearer standards and guidance) creating a more responsible construction industry. “Product safety performance and traceability will be key, with testing and certification intrinsic to driving this forward”. Additionally, it is predicted that consequences for businesses or manufacturers failing to comply will also be more consistent and robust.
Too Risk Adverse?
Yes, it is difficult to take the plunge – economic factors and other issues are constantly restricting or interrupting the confidence and the desire to invest and grow; but we know the old adage, ‘You have to speculate to accumulate’!
As Professor Venkatesh Ganapathy explains, “R&D (Research & Development) plays a very important role in the success of a business. R&D contributes to sustainability of business. Many companies do not understand the importance of R&D until it is too late”.
RFIDdirect will always take their step ladder approach – one rung at a time. consider, first, the most (relatively) simple, inexpensive IoT based solutions (many hybrid RFID and other technologies can work very well together) to capture the data most business owners require. But, then, who knows What kind of innovations it might lead to for both partners?
With the above in mind, the focus for most RFIDdirect scoping exercises are shifted to a more generic, holistic approach, looking into the complete logistic operation with the aim to improve the process and create greater visibility of goods in process, inventory levels and improved efficiency overall.
- Logistics control – arrival and dispatch
- Compare actual production time against estimates
- Measure and improve profit margins
- Locate defective materials and equipment
- Maintenance /compliancy log/record keeping
- Monitor run-speed and job changes
- Real-time insight and personnel tracking
- Up-to-the minute customised information
(On-Site) Testing for RFID Applications is Crucial
Stop wondering what if and just do it – there is no place in today’s competitive markets to be fearful of going forward, even mistakes are useful!
(Thomas H. Davenport)
With over 20 years’ experience in RFID applications, RFIDdirect still asks, “Will this work”? A trial period in our test centre will quickly show if a standard product will suffice and deliver the performance a customer is expecting. That’s the first step. Second, is to establish where in the process, supply chain or inventory management system is optimum for data collection. Next, conducting a proof of concept (establishing validity of positioning and discovering disturbances in the environment) will follow. Environmental conditions, without exception, change the performance of an RFID system. Properties of materials – metal parts, environmental fluctuations, moisture, humidity or extreme temperature exposure – can affect read-range, accuracy and longevity.
So, the testing process can be lengthy as it is designed to ultimately increase resilience in read range and read success rates over time – never a quick fix!
Guaranteed Product Quality from Tawah Smartech
It is through thorough testing too, that RFIDdirect guarantee the absolute quality of the transponders they supply; we know our (main) supplier Tatwah Smartech Co Ltd under the leadership of Angela Ho (International Dept), hosts the Transport Smart Labels Application Research Centre of NDRC and The Guangdong RFID Engineering and Technical Research Development Centre.
Additionally, Tatwah Smartech has invested heavily in research work on a number of progressive technological subjects; their eye is constantly on the evolving world of technology and connectivity. All Export products are both, RoHS and REACH compliant, as certified by internationally recognized Test Labs.
Specific Testing for You, the Customer
For RFIDdirect, testing is the way, not only guarantee success, but to meet customer expectation by instilling confidence and know-how in user-friendly experiences.
Knowing that many customers want to establish a clear benchmark for RFID performance – repeatability, consistency, trouble shooting, RFIDdirect will carry out regular quality audits on site/cloud or through our customer support network to ensure standards are being met.
We @RFIDDirect pride ourselves on being able to provide the answer to most solution-related RFID testing questions. Supported by a wide range of test systems, simulations and experience, the team are willing to ‘have a go’ at any potential idea or problem by taking their own risks to invest in the future.
Finally, RFID stands for… Radio Frequency Identification and can be used to track assets in organisations and their supply chains. It really is a tried and tested technology for automatic data capture and identification!