- May 16, 2006, pffc-online.com
VERNON HILLS, IL—Zebra Technologies, a manufacturer of bar code and RFID smart labeling solutions, worked with key partners and a large number of suppliers to help them launch RFID technology in their operations. To help Wal-Mart's “next 300” companies with their compliance mandates, Zebra offers an article outlining the top 10 best practices based on successful RFID implementations featuring Wal-Mart suppliers. Highlights include:
It takes time to research the technology, select the right partners and align the organization.
2. Choose supplies carefully.
If your tags don’t work, you risk missing deadlines for compliance.
3. Determine the where and how of smart labeling.
Will you incorporate RFID tags into your current shipping labels or add new label formats? Where are labels best placed on the carton, pallet? There are many questions to answer.
4. Pick the right partners.
Choosing the right partners is critical for RFID success. Look for companies that are experienced and fit well with your existing applications and business processes.
5. Start small and simple, then expand.
Beaver Street Fisheries, Victory Land Group and Pacific Cycle started with basic RFID tagging on a limited number of products. All three companies agreed that starting small made the project a lot less intimidating and reduced costs by saving on mistakes that could disrupt operations.
6. Test, test, test.
Tags perform differently with different materials, at different locations and at different channels within the UHF spectrum, so it is important to thoroughly test early in the process to avoid creating more issues as implementations scale up in volume.
7. If you can, plan RFID from the ground up.
If your company will be involved in new construction, implementing new applications or upgrading IT infrastructure, gaining experience with RFID and factoring it in your plans is a very good idea.
8. Utilize the data.
It is important to transport and translate the RFID data flow to upstream business applications for true ROI from an RFID implementation.
9. Look beyond compliance for ROI.
Beaver Street Fisheries, Victory Land Group and Pacific Cycle agree that leveraging their compliance learning is only the first step—although extending the technology internally in an organization requires business process and software re-engineering. When RFID data can be used to improve business processes, companies experience significant payback.
10, Recognize that RFID is still a moving target and plan for change.
RFID certainly has arrived, and global standards are still being settled. Almost for certain, the RFID architecture that is implemented today will undergo changes in the next 18 months. Therefore, the initial vendor relationships you establish will be critical as your implementation matures. By choosing strong and knowledgeable partners today, end users can ensure they stay abreast of the many developments in RFID tomorrow.