Have you ever wished you could leverage RFID when you’re out in the field doing inventory, survey or audit work? Whether you’re currently using paper and pencil or using another automated option – adding RFID to your processes doesn’t have to be a huge leap.
A Little RFID History
RFID’s origins actually date back to 1935, World War II and the introduction of radar technology. The technology’s evolution continued through the 50s and 60s. But it was the 70s that brought us the first RFID patent and use in government and in limited production use with tags and readers.
It has really only been in the past twenty years where RFID has started to be more broadly focused and actively marketed for commercial applications. But even then it has been primarily implemented in internal closed loop processes, like movement tracking, where the cost and benefits were more easily attained. It was also seen in compliance marking and labeling like what was done for Walmart or the government.
We really haven’t begun to reap the benefits of RFID more broadly. I think that’s because there are still perceptions that RFID is a complicated and expensive technology to use.
Traditionally, implementing RFID has required large overhead in tools and staff resources. Those investments and efforts included:
- Creating the RFID system – including the solution application, the data & network,
- acquiring and adhering the right RFID tags – to ensure optimal read performance of the items,
- and then procuring and installing the actual RFID hardware – portals, handheld devices or some combination.
These items also require the staff and the time to implement and fine tune to ultimately get full production value.
PeopleSoft & RFID
Today with PeopleSoft, that RFID journey has been dramatically changed. Our mobilePLUS for PeopleSoft solution allows for the easy addition of RFID to your asset inventory activities. Our application accommodates the use of traditional barcodes, 2D barcodes and/or RFID tagging of your assets – enabling use of all of these in conducting your audits, while also complying with whatever mixture of markings that meets your requirements.
This is how the process works with mobilePLUS for PeopleSoft and RFID:
- Use your existing inventory extract creation process
- Use your existing asset data
- Use your existing network interfaces
- Install mobilePLUS on your network and mobile devices
- Update your mobile devices to allow for RFID capture along with your existing barcodes
It’s not a long stretch to get to RFID – because most of what you need and what you’ll use, you already have in your existing PeopleSoft solution.
The RFID Devices
A common concern many have surrounds the RFID handheld devices. mobilePLUS for PeopleSoft has a large selection of certified mobile devices. Often, you can even leverage your existing investment in Windows Mobile devices.
(Our White Paper Navigating the Challenges of Mobile Devices & Their Changing Platforms, has some additional information for addressing some approaches for evolving mobile device needs).
There is also the option of adding an RFID reader to your existing Windows laptop or tablet devices. We can provide you a list of all the options you may have.
The biggest challenges moving your PeopleSoft inventory activities to include RFID are actually not that challenging. There are really just three areas that need attention:
- Installation of mobilePLUS on your network and mobile devices. mobilePLUS is pre-configured and comes with automated scripts to setup and install the components quickly and easily.
- Train your staff for your new approach to inventory activities. There are actually no changes on the PeopleSoft side – so you really just need to train the people conducting the audits. For that, we have packaged training that’s easy to use – and can be repeated anytime you add new staff to the team.
- Apply your RFID tags on the items you want to track. mobilePLUS comes with the ability to update tags during normal inventory events or an optional “retag option” for bulk tagging activities.
The goal with an RFID project – or any project really – is to implement and put the solution into production with the least amount of effort, cost and time. mobilePLUS was built to accomplish this goal in days versus the normal weeks and/or months for a typical upgrade – never mind one that encompasses RFID technology. We also designed mobilePLUS so that once you implement the solution, you can follow with adding tags and changing devices over time minimizing cost and disruptions.
HL Group has been providing supply chain and mobile asset management solutions for twenty years that have garnered numerous successes and awards for our clients. Our customers range in size from those that use thousands of devices to one that needs only three. mobilePLUS is designed to be not only easy to implement and use, but also be configurable to match any client’s requirements and needs.