Lately we have heard a lot about RFID technology, as well as the advantages in supply chain management, traceability, reduced operating costs and the financial impact of having total control over all the stock of any organization.
The problem begins when many companies do not know where to start an RFID project, which can be somewhat tedious. In addition, not being clear about the different phases and particularities, can cause you to create false expectations.
Therefore, at Bionix, as experts in the design, development and manufacture of RFID technology, we want to explain what the implementation of an RFID project in a company consists of. It is essential to know all the phases that we must address when deciding to undertake this kind of project.
How is an RFID project implemented?
The first of all is to have an experienced RFID provider, who knows the technology and who adapts to the particularities of your company. At Bionix we design, develop and manufacture the entire RFID system, from the hardware devices to the software platform or the mobile application. We control the entire process, offering you a 360º RFID service without intermediaries.
Step 1: Define the IT infrastructure of the project
Definition of the necessary IT infrastructure (connectivity, servers, etc.).
At this point we must define the necessary infrastructure for the correct operation of the RFID system, such as: Wi-Fi network, Ethernet wired network and VPN network.
Integration of middleware with systems (WMS, ERP, etc.).
All devices installed throughout the supply chain send and receive information from the Bionix Cixxonia Cloud platform. This platform must be integrated with the company’s ERP or WMS system to exchange information regarding orders, inventories, transfers, etc.
Definition of reporting and reconciliation criteria.
Define the data that need to be controlled so that the supply chain management is efficient.
Step 2: RFID tagging
Definition of the encoding and labeling strategy.
Another important point is to define where the coding and labeling of the products will take place. If our suppliers will label the items, if we will supply the tags or not, if we will tag everything once the merchandise is received, etc. We must choose the operation that allows us to obtain the best performance and greater control while adapting cost to our budget.
Selection of the appropriate RFID tag according to the type of product.
This point is one of the most fundamental aspects of any RFID project. The selection of the appropriate tag for our product will be essential for the correct operation of the system, since if we choose a tag that adhered to our product offers poor performance and cannot be read or causes errors, it can lead to numerous incidents in the system. Therefore, depending on the composition, environment and dimensions of our product, we will choose one tag or another. There are numerous alternatives, in this post we explain more about RFID tags.
Testing and validation.
Once the appropriate tag for our product has been chosen, it is very important to measure the tag performance on the product itself. To do this, at Bionix we have the first RFID test performance center in Spain, in which through our anechoic chamber we help you to test and validate the chosen tag on your own product. In this way, we ensure that the basis of the system is adequate and we avoid incurring future reading errors.
Involvement of the marketing and R&D department.
The label is a visual element, often used as a brand image and identity, which is why coordination with the marketing department in the tag selection process is essential.
The next step would be, once the tag and the coding and tagging process have been selected, proceed to tag all the merchandise. Here we have two options. The first, re-tag all the merchandise that we have in stock and that was not tagged with RFID in order to have all the RFID tagged stock from the moment we start. Or start tagging with RFID only the new merchandise and have a time of coexistence of the two systems, the previous one (usually barcode) and RFID, until all the stock not labeled with RFID is sold or canceled.
Step 3: Hardware Implementation
Definition of technological infrastructure and devices.
Depending on the needs, dimensions and volumes of each supply chain, it will be necessary to install a series of devices or others. At Bionix we carry out a personalized assessment of your supply chain and processes, with an on-site rethinking, and we offer you the solution that best suits your needs and problems.
Definition of the installation phases : distribution center, warehouse and stores.
For a correct functioning of the system it is necessary to approach the project by phases and use cases. Bionix’s team of RFID experts will help you define the optimal phases of your RFID project.
According to everything previously defined.
Support and maintenance.
Step 4: Project execution
Selection of use cases for validation.
According to your daily operations, processes and requirements, we will define the use cases of the RFID project to cover all those areas that you are interested in controlling.
Monitoring of the project plan.
Once the project planning has been defined, there must be continuous communication between the client and BIONIX so that both parties work in a coordinated manner.
Step 5: Deployment
Definition of scenarios and deployment planning in the distribution center and / or in stores.
Once we have the necessary IT infrastructure, we have selected the appropriate tag, defined and installed the necessary RFID devices, selected the use cases and defined the project phases, the deployment begins. The first action would be to proceed with the tagging of the products according to the chosen option.
Once everything has been tagged, the second step is to automatically identify the articles using an RFID device according to the phase and the corresponding use case. The third step would be to check the correct operation of the entire system through our Cixxonia software platform, which has been designed to be easy and intuitive to use and thus facilitate your daily work.
Step 6: Purchases
In the early phases of the project, it will be very important to plan purchases (consumables) to be able to monitor the deployment of the project. Once the RFID system starts working 100%, the purchasing department will be able to better plan product purchases for manufacturing, since they will know in real time the total stock of the company, including all that stock that was previously classified as “Unknown loss” or the possible differences that could exist between the actual and theoretical stock.
Involvement of suppliers in the design, pilot and implementation plan.
For the implementation of the project to be a success, it must work in a coordinated manner between all the departments of the organization.
Step 7: Results
Definition of KPIs to measure the impact of RFID.
As the implementation of the RFID project progresses, KPIs will be established to measure results based on data coming directly from the supply chain.
The increase in productivity will be reflected when it is possible to carry out all the entries and exits of merchandise through RFID, as well as the realization of inventories in a fast and efficient way. As this is possible, the time of the different operators can be better invested and managed.
Step 8: Financial
Integration of the new inventory management model.
The RFID project will have a direct impact on the financial accounts of the company. From the beginning of the implementation, the number of inventories carried out will increase considerably compared to what was previously done in the company, increasing their accuracy in less time. In this way, working hours are optimized and incurring stock breakages or unknown losses that translate into a cost for the company are avoided. RFID projects due to their great benefits have a very fast ROI.
Legacy vs RFID reconciliation criteria.
Step 9: Processes
Management model with RFID
Process modification due to RFID impact.
The implementation of RFID technology in the supply chain will bring great benefits and help boost sales and growth of your business.
Get in touch with us and start your RFID project tomorrow!