Sunday, January 30, 2011

Give Me your Story

Quote from a linked in post. “My Problem with Zebra and most other location systems is the cost of the supporting infrastructure. You get into large open areas and to power and support them with readers the cost is prohibitive. With RFind and few others the blow to the budget for the supporting hardware to make is work is small if any.”

This is a common thread in most discussion groups. Of course the WiFi and ZigBee vendors come back with their perceived ability of using simple technology that is already in place to accomplish the location task. Personal I see a lot of success stores with the WiFi ZigBee tools but only if you mix in other technology for the accuracy (Sonic, IR, Other) or you add in a large amount of extra supporting equipment.

Experience has taught us that one technology (or Tag) can meet every requirement in most applications. I am not talking where say an active tag Like RFind does not do a fine job in yard management, portal, presence, or thief detection in everything from Rail, transit, manufacturing, airports, oil & gas, and much more but where you move to other areas that require a different format of technology to meet the value/performance requirements.

Software is the key to blend technologies together to get a total solution. My question is how many of you have experienced a project where what was put in place was one technology that is pressed into working for everything. Let me know what happened, what your pain points where, and if you are still using it. Have you had to break the budget to get any value from it and if your success factor was what you wanted.

I’ll share my finding with the group.

Thanks Byron

Friday, January 21, 2011


The number one issue holding back RFID deployment is the misconception that RFID cost too much and they never return value. RFID-enabled supply chains and the companies’ needs to understand how RFID changes the decision-making and supply chain dynamics.

RFID is sold to most companies under the assumption of anticipated savings on labor, operation efficiency improvements, and shrinking inventory levels. Well are these good items to base your ROI on? NO they are not, if your processes are that broken that a simple deployment of a tool like RFID can return $50,000 to $500,000 in savings then you could save more money just fixing them first place and use RFID for much more important and harder to solve problems.

RFID will return much larger benefits in decision making, line balancing, customer satisfaction, quality, and So Much Mor. .Ask for our White paper on the True ROI of RFID.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Help, My RTLS deployment does not work?

Yes the core capability of the RTLS solutions is its ability to be adjustable and compliant to match any deployment environment you require. Flexibility is something that is lacking in the RFID market but brings with it some caveats. RFID for the most part is very easy to set up; you place a reader where you intend to read the tagged asset and you have it. When you get into RTLS and beacon/locator/reference tag location, you have a lot more power and environmental options that must be controlled and understood.

Training is crucial in these products as just out of the box deployments do not work. Please let me know when you are available and I’ll set up a webinar session to go over the product with your team and show you how to set it up properly for your testing.

Get the training and you will be successful and happy. Picking the easy low hanging fruit leaves the really good product untouched.

Byron Blackburn

Monday, January 10, 2011

RFID Automation Cures the Number 1 Supply Chain Problem

An interesting Independent study was just released. Comprised form logistics blogs with a focus on logistics core problems and the believed cause. Covering over nine months of posts this study tracked reasons, problems, and suggested resolutions grouping them in the top ten areas of concern. One glaring result was three of the top 5 directly related to human error. These three apprised over 50% of the core problem as well.

In truth the human equation seems to rebound as unreliable again and again. As logistic consultants we get called in so many times to bring in RFID or other automation when process control is really all that is required. Employee involvement, lack of management commitment, poor processes, and a lack of understanding of what those processes are just compounds the issue. Before we do any automation we demand that we value stream map their process to make sure we understand what their actual process is. In most cases it is not close to what they think it is or what they have documented. Management and employee circumvention is everywhere and training is lacking as well.

It appears the old practice of just sticking a warm body in a position with the hopes of training getting done or acquired on the job, and the hope they can follow the documented instructions is the norm. Problem is the instructions are written in most cases by someone who has limited experience to the actual work being done, and the employee follows what makes sense to them. We can fix these problems and if necessary put in the automation (RFID/GPS/Bar-Code/ETC.) but it takes time and commitment on behalf of the customer. There is no magic Technology that fixes these problems but business keeps trying. End result is you have too many stand-alone systems that do not communicate with each other with conflicting processes that only compound the problem. It can all be mapped and blended together but there is no quick fix. Remember the longer you try to only grasp the tired expression of “Low hanging fruit” the longer you add to the problem. All the really good fruit goes to waste because you don’t want to spend the effort or the money to buy the ladders and climb them.

RFID and RTLS is the tool that controls processes and send the information to where you need it letting you know what is going on and avoiding problems before they stop production.

Thank you So much Byron Blackburn.