Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Same Old Sad Story

We have a customer that over the years placed a few RFID projects but never really took them to the level of integration that is required for true value. They have asked for help as most of these past deployments fell short of what they expected or wanted and are white elephants collecting dust.

I have been reviewing these past projects, and what tools they have in place. Looking at recent conversations with other employees from around the organization and the questions they have posed for help, I can postulate their current standpoint of technology and direction.

State of the current tracking and tracing products in place or secured are now three plus years old, and looking at the time frame to get the vendors purchasing status with the company this equipment is setting at four to five years old. This equipment is out of warranty, batteries will be depleted or dead, and we are looking at least five year old technology.

There have been drastic advances in Location technology over the last few years limiting the cost of setting up network and power system to support these deployments. That infrastructure cost alone can eclipse the hardware cost in most installations and require months of skilled labor to put in place. As US based companies move operations to southern states, Mexico, or Overseas this stresses the supply chain to synchronize deliver to assembly facilities, matching line load, and customer demand.

I would suggest they look at quick and flexible tracking and tracing solution that can be deployed quickly with little to zero infrastructure requirements. These systems can be placed even in temporary locations and storage areas without supporting infrastructure and deployed by current unskilled workforce. Nice thing is as the new plants are constructed they can ship machine centers and equipment and not lose them in storage keeping components together for quicker assembly. When up and running these flexible systems can be redeployed into the production environment for total supply chain visibility without expensive rewiring of power or networks.

One point that I always stress is one RFID tag or Location tool is not the answer. Blending tools, software and hardware is what gives you a complete end to end solution. The Logistics process starts with the customer order and ends with customer follow-up. Without this approach you have holes throughout the system. Implementing this approach requires broad exposure to the tools in the market place and the ability to pick and choose the correct tool for each unique need and the ability to blend these together. As integration or the lack of it has left the company with literally thousands of stand-alone system and processes that have little interlacing of data. This is not unusual in US based businesses as I find this in ever one I work with to some degree. Even the ever vaulted Japanese auto giants have issues with this when you start spreading operations over the global market for production facilities. One point the Company must address is this tool selection. Not always will the best tool required for the solution be from an approved r Vendor. In this one issue alone they limit themselves to what they can or cannot deploy. Not being able to offer the total tool selection limits value, performance, cost money, and hinders our overall goal, and success factors.

Over the years we have strategically built a global network from our over thirty five years of business experience covering agreement’s with over one hundred different companies. Offering Hardware and Software solutions to meet any Logistics, production, manufacturing, mining, Oil & Gas, transit, security, and process control need we can deliver success. As such we are called on to help design systems from Fortune 100 Companies to Governments and small business as well. What this Company requires is not rocket science but it does require a strategic approach, experience, and a blending of proper tools to meet their requirement of a 2020 Company. That is the key, design for the future of where we want to be in 2020, not what fits today’s budget. What we offered this company in 2006 was a 2015-2020 vision, yes it was going to cost a chunk of money but the facts are in, they have spent more avoiding that expense in 2006 by over three times to date. Worse yet is they are still in the same place logistically as well.

I look forward to being of service to you at any opportunity. Byron

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