The RFID Planning and Implementation Process
Identify Business Problem:
- The first step in an RFID installation is to identify a “pain point” for the organization.
- RFID opportunities include problems with data collection and management, where data visibility is a key requirement and there are no effective ways of capturing information.
- Examples include Identification, Asset Management, Supply Chains,
RFID Planning Steps:
RFID planning should start with infrastructure, process and systems analysis.
- Understanding the existing infrastructure; processes and systems and how they will be impacted by RFID will help establish project requirements that will determine the tag and reader selection criteria.
- A systematic site inspection leveraging scientific RF tools such as the spectrum analyzer to identify possible RF interferences needs to be performed.
System Design & Development (Pilot Project):
Once the site has been surveyed, and the implementation details are fixed, the system should be implemented in a closed environment.
- Any RFID installation has two distinct parts Hardware and Software. Clearly, any one of these is incomplete without the other.
- Moreover, each should be optimized for best operation with the other.
- Assuming the choice of frequency has already been made, vendors need to be found.
- Based on a statistical analysis of best readability and other factors, the choice of locations of the antennas, their orientations, design of mounting units and placements should be done.
Software includes everything from “Reader drivers”, to “databases” to the “front end Graphical User Interface (GUI)”.
- Depending on the scale of applications, all these modules can reside on one single computer, on a local network of computers, or a wide area network of computers.
- The “glue software” that connects these different parts has to consider the scale of operations and has to be optimized for minimal and error free data flow on the network to avoid congestion.
- System Implementation and Testing After the design phase is complete, the system has to be tested, implemented and retested.
- Another important test parameter is that the new software should not interfere with any existing enterprise software.
- Once this independent testing of hardware and software is complete, the
complete system should be implemented and tested.
Documentation and Training:
Documentation, Training & Support As with all other projects is the final step in any RFID implementation.
- It is therefore important to document all the manuals and troubleshooting guides in great detail to avoid extensive costs in support.
- These documents should include, the complete system layout diagrams, training guides, and perhaps videos to demonstrate the functionality.
- Like good documentation, good training also reduces support costs.