Investment scares those who hold the purse strings of their business, especially in barcode or RFID, because “it worked well before”. But what if the investment isn’t made?
How much operating time can be saved for other, more profitable operations? What can we say about the proof we can’t provide to the customer? What about the quality of the stored data in the event of a complaint?
This is where we can estimate the return on investment, the profitability of such equipment (terminals) with its software, product or tool identification and data archiving.
We’ll look at the return on investment of identification in general, and then focus on Rfid in relation to other means of identification.
What identification solutions are currently available?
- OCR (character recognition)
- pattern recognition (with further development …)
In terms of security and repeatability, we will concentrate here on the first 2 :
Identifying products and using an identifier-reading application: why do it? how profitable is it? how much time is saved in terms of operation, operator and employee time?
Profitability of a barcode application in the case of stocktaking.
Let’s take the common case of a 3-person store inventory and compare the situations with and without a barcode and its management application.
|Criterion||without application||with barcode application||gain|
|Paid operator time||2 days||1 day||3x2=6 days’ pay|
|Closing time||2 days||1 day, or even 0 if you proceed by sector||2 to 1 day’s sales (turnover)|
|Loss of material in stock||approx. 2% of stock||0.01% of stock||approx. 2% of stock|
|Sleeping stock / dead stock not identified and not sold before expiry date, of mode||approx. 5%||0%||5% of stock|
Profitability of barcode application for delivery drivers, maintenance technicians on the road:
|Criterion||Without barcode application||With barcode application||Gain|
|Operator time, salesperson paid to re-enter forms||1h for 6 forms (depends on its size)||No delay: data arrives directly into the system||Saves staff time|
|Delay in obtaining data (e.g. to invoice or inform a customer)||Paid technician return time + data entry: minimum 1 day||0: data available within a day (or even a minute)!||Saves days of cash flow and reactivity|
|Copy errors||Some||None||Depends on impact of error|
Make your profitability calculation with your figures now and ask us for a quote.
and ask us for a quote: you could make your automatic identification investment pay for itself within a year!
In fact, in terms of Operator time spent, the gain lies in the time spent and the accuracy of data re-entry.
the gain lies in the time spent and the accuracy of re-entering quantities and references into a system like Excel, whereas with our applications, as soon as you enter, you’re in the system. The ergonomics of the reading devices are such that the speed of entry and scanning is impressive: depending on the counting and scanning mode, you can go from 60 to 200 references per minute!
Do you have any other criteria? Talk about it here! Do you fill in forms with pen and paper? Do you count the time it takes to retype these forms?
Loss of material and sleeping stock
As long as everything is bar-coded and the locations are bar-coded, you can associate a product with a location and find it easily. But just by labeling it and referencing it in your management system, you can identify how long it’s been in stock and clear it before it becomes obsolete.
Is the amount of data in the barcode limited?
Yes indeed, 1D barcodes read by lasers are limited in data size, the limit is pushed back with 2D codes which require imagers or a camera: read barcodes: how does it work?
If you want to go beyond the simple code read and call up other information linked to this code in the network or in memory, you need to consider the use of an intelligent barcode reading terminal or smartphone (ruggedized), which can contain tables of embedded information linked to the barcode, which the application will fetch to better inform the user: price, product description, batch expiration date, etc.: read advantages of scanning terminals.
The barcode reading distance is too great ?
The reading heads on board barcode terminals have several ranges of distance and quality, from 20 cm to 20 meters: this is not visible to the naked eye for the customer, but the prices and differences in product ranges explain this.
In these ways, there are reasons to avoid the expense of the Rfid solution.
RFID in mobile applications: when should it be used? Can it replace the barcode? Is RFID cost-effective?
Does RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) replace the barcode?
First of all, there are 3 types of RFID frequencies, which are not compatible with each other. The choice of RFID depends on use and context, and reading distance (quasi-contact or approximately 6 to 10 meters away)
An RFID solution comprises at least:
- a terminal with RFID antenna, more expensive than a barcode terminal,
- an application to use this RFID reader,
- tags corresponding to the terminal’s frequency range: labels with an antenna and a chip, wrapped in a special way to suit the environment in which they are to be used, and to attach them to the object to be identified. Their price is much higher than a simple self-adhesive paper label.
After several years of tests, RFID projects in the fields of identification and traceability, and questions from prospective customers on the subject of RFID, we’d like to share with you this summary and concentrated guide to choosing RFID.
In a nutshell: RFID identification has 3 fundamental reasons to be chosen for its cost-effectiveness:
Basically, you need to analyze your products’ journey and the risks involved.
The RFID investment is worthwhile when
- when the product identification barcode is or will be occulted
or made unreadable
- in the production, use or monitoring process:
example: sludge, paint, cement, acid, animals with hair or wool: sheep, cattle, etc… or in battery storage:
e.g. clothing store: inventories are much faster, with no more unfolding of garments, for example: an average of 40 tags per second can be read in UHF (2,500 products per minute), which no longer requires the store to be closed for inventory.
RFID identification and authentication is necessary
when you want to be sure of a product’s authentication and origin, protect it against copying and sign it digitally: an encrypted signature is introduced into the code of the embedded or even hidden chip inside the product to be authenticated,
Examples: food, paintings, furniture. This function can now compete with mobile product authentication solutions delivered free of charge to the customer on Android.
RFID identification is advantageous when
when the product or badge represents a monetary or consumer value to be identified that can be falsified because it’s public, or paying access, e.g. transport tickets in general: bus, metro, ski
or requires rapidity of mass control e.g. confidential access, jewelry identification.
If your identification needs don’t fit into any of these headings, there are other, far less costly and more profitable solutions that we can find together, and we need to look into barcoding or OCR: give us a call!
Beware of metal with RFID! /pdf/rfid_sur_metal-productivix.pdf
Examples of choosing RFID or intelligent mobile terminals:
- if you want to have information on your terminal relating to a product code read on a tube, for example, there are solutions that cost half as much, such as intelligent portable terminals that contain data relating to current batches downloaded from the database. This information is displayed on the screen when the product code is scanned, so there’s no need to put it on a chip.
- If you need to transmit information on the identified product to another organization outside your IT fold, you really need a good reason to choose RFID, as EDI (data exchange) between computers is very common and a good substitute for this function.
So RFID doesn’t replace the barcode in an identification project, in fact it’s often requested as a complement in many projects using readers with dual reading capabilities: RFID + barcode.
We hope this helps you in your thinking. If in doubt, call us for advice.