No matter the industry, business owners are always looking to continuously improve operations and lower costs. So, while your business process today might work well, there may be room to further streamline.
For the future-looking, cost-conscious and customer service-oriented business owner, look out for these four signs – and discover how RFID can help you optimize your business process.
4 Signs You Need to Optimize Your Business Process
#1. Your Team Spends a Lot of Time Collecting Information
Observe your team. Do your people spend a lot of time collecting information about the location or status of your assets? Is the collection of that data highly manual?
Your team might be manipulating assets to read serial numbers or scan a barcode. If the former, they may be writing those numbers on a clipboard or manually inputting them to a computer. This work is time-consuming and error-prone.
With an RFID system, you can collect this information automatically without tying up your human resources on this low value add task.
#2. There Are Discrepancies in Location & State of Assets in Your Database
Next, examine your database of information. Is the information about the whereabouts of your assets or how they’re being used highly accurate?
In other words, if your database says an asset is at location A, is it actually there? Do you have to run frequent physical audits to keep your data accurate?
RFID can help you automatically collect and store data about the location and state of your assets while ensuring they are physically placed in the correct location. Humans (the source of most errors) do not have to manually input or transfer information when collecting data.
#3. Information Updates Lag in Your Database
Accurate information is only as good as it is timely. So, when the position or status of an asset changes, does that information get into your system quickly?
Say an asset is no longer in a warehouse; it’s now with a customer. The database needs to be timely so someone else doesn’t, for example, mistakenly rent that asset out to another customer, thinking it’s available. On a similar note, if the asset is no longer useful and in the repair department, it’s important that this information is quickly added to the database so a faulty asset isn’t rented out.
RFID can automatically, nearly instantaneously update your database.
#4. You’re Getting Poor ROI on Your Assets
Finally, the above signs might be pointing to a larger problem: poor ROI on your assets.
Without accurate, timely data about your assets, you lack insight into asset utilization. It’s difficult to see which assets are actually earning you money and which ones you should or shouldn’t invest in.
RFID can indirectly help here. By collecting timely, accurate data through an RFID system, you have what you need to conduct helpful analysis on your assets.
Does Your Business Need RFID? 2 Examples
Example #1: Rental Companies
Take, for example, a large rental company that rents out pro-level audio/visual, production and computer equipment – all highly valuable assets – to various industries. To operate, the rental company has to:
- Assemble kits with the right items
- Process returns
- Ensure assets are well-maintained
While it gets the job done, a manual business process for this rental company can be very inefficient, taking a lot of human interaction (and thus a heightened risk of human error) in order to find items, confirm details, write down serial numbers and more. Each item can take a few minutes to process – and for a large company with hundreds of thousands of items across several facilities, the hours add up fast.
Rental companies like this can use RFID to optimize streamline their business process in order to quickly serve their customers and improve revenue. In fact, in one case, In one case, an RFID system reduced a 2.5 hour, two-person process to a 15-minute, one-person process – a 95% reduction in time and labor costs.
Example #2: Hospitals & Surgical Kit Providers
Hospitals require different surgical kits for different types of procedures. These kits are in a metal box that must be cleaned and sterilized. To stay sterile, the box has to be wrapped and sealed. The hospital stock room is full of these kits, but due to these sterilization requirements, staff can’t see what’s in the box. Instead, they have to read the labels to identify the right kit – a slow and tedious process.
With RFID tags and a reader, staff can identify kits – without manipulating them – and find exactly what they need in less than two minutes.
Most of the time, hospitals don’t own these kits and rather hold this inventory on consignment. So, on the other side of the process, the kit provider receives kits back from the hospital (in bulk) that need to be sterilized. At the same time, they have demand from customers for replacement kits, and some needs are higher priority than others. When they receive batches of kits back, providers struggle to quickly identify what to sterilize and replace first.
With RFID, the provider doesn’t even need to open the box. Again, in less than two minutes, they know what’s inside and can unpack the highest priority items first and make them available as soon as possible.
Every business process has opportunity costs. As you pay your team to keep track of or identify assets, they could be doing other tasks that add more value. And every minute your team spends identifying assets is another minute your asset isn’t providing ROI.
At the end of the day, it’s about better serving your customer, and good business owners are always thinking of ways to improve the customer experience. If someone out there wants your asset, you want them to have it as quickly as possible.
By optimizing your business process with RFID, you know the state of your assets and can immediately serve your customer, make them happy and improve your revenue.