There is always pressure, from customers, owners and competitors, to streamline operations, reduce labor costs and improve data accuracy. The coronavirus pandemic has added more pressure to get personnel out of processes that may now endanger their health. Here are three ways the industry is using RFID to adapt.
For several years, the industry has been shifting towards more cost-effective processes. But this has accelerated in the last year as businesses work to reduce on-site staff to comply with health and safety guidance. This is made particularly important as research by the Federal Reserve has shown that automatable jobs pose a high risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Reducing Transmission Risk
The process of assembling rental kits and getting them out the door can be very labor-intensive. Locating the assets with barcodes or serial numbers is a time-consuming process that requires a number of employees to manipulate items so that these identifying marks can be read.
To meet this challenge, rental companies are turning to RFID. RFID enables the rapid identification of assets without touching them. This drastically reduces the labor needed to identify the correct items, get them into the staging area, and then verifying the contents of the rental kit. This reduces the number of people in facilities, making employees safer and reducing the risk to your business.
Lower Labor Costs
Having fewer employees involved in the process has the additional benefit of reducing labor costs. With RFID the time spent finding and identifying assets is dramatically reduced.
In addition, quality processes are expedited, and these workflows can be monitored without the time intensive step of recording asset ID’s as the items move through these processes. Finally, cycle counts and inventory audits can be done quickly using very few people equipped with RFID readers.
Improved Asset Utilization
RFID improves the quality of data you have on your assets. With timely, accurate data, you can get a better understanding of asset usage levels.
Inventory visibility is an essential tool for asset rental companies. Only by having accurate inventory data can a rental company determine what assets are available to supply to a customer.
With timely, high quality data, analysis of utilization levels, seasonal usage patterns and rental time frames becomes more accurate and reliable. This enables data-driven decisions about how to invest in additional assets to provide the most revenue and the highest return.
Rental companies that had implemented RFID systems prior to the pandemic reaped a significant return, as their operations were not nearly as severely impacted by the personnel issues related to the pandemic. Firms that did not have RFID in place accelerated their adoption of the technology, as they observed the benefits, both COVID related and the more general business benefits, of RFID. RFID provides a significant competitive advantage in the rental equipment industry, both in times of COVID and beyond.