With more than 10 years of implementing an identification project we have some great experience and tips that are worth sharing. This blog contains 5 steps to take when considering embarking on an identification project.
1. Start with… what do you need to achieve with your identification project
It’s all too common for organisations to embrace technology (especially automatic identification projects) without fully understanding – before the project commences – what the aims of the project are, or what it is that needs to be achieved.
At this early stage, it’s important to understand where the pain points are. What is costing the most time? Where is money being wasted? Where are people not being used effectively? Where do you have safety issues? Or, what needs to improve in order to allow you to make better business decisions?
Every problem should be quantifiable, which will help understand where the biggest wins are. For example, if you need to reduce the time taken, then by how much? If your goal is to save money, how much? If safety is the primary concern, what metric do you need to improve on?
2. Understand what information do you need to know or gain from your identification project
Once you have a clear picture of what you need to achieve you can then begin to think about what do you need to know in order to meet those targets.
At this stage you should look to document the essential information needed to achieve your targets, remembering that the more data you capture and the more frequently you capture it, the more expensive it will be. For example if you need to know where something is, then can you meet your objectives knowing where it was within the last hour or within the last 24-hour period? This could be a lot more cost-effective than returning real-time ‘live’ data.
Identification technologies can provide you with a wealth of information about an item from where it is right now, where it came from and where it’s going through to full online records detailing a complete audited history of what’s happened to it and what needs to happen, but it all comes at a cost!
3. How are you going to use the data?
This is the most important question you should ask yourself … how are you going to use the data you collect? Far too frequently we see projects that have been implemented with incredibly granular levels of data, but none of it is being used.
Document what you plan to do with the data you collect. Do you need to alert people in your organisation in order that they can immediately react? Do other systems in your business need to receive digital notifications such that they can react? Do you need to store the data for use further down the line? Does it need to be shared with other departments in your organisation, with your suppliers or your customers?
Fully understanding how you plan to use the data will help validate if you really need to be collecting it and how often that collection should happen.
4. Embark on a proof of concept
A proof of concept should be a critical step in your overall project outline as it truly validates how your business works – rather than how it should work. We’ve seen projects where the team claimed it simply wasn’t possible for suppliers to deliver in cardboard or that a particular dock door is never used for despatch – only for the proof of concept to uncover the truth!
This phase allows you and your technical partners to understand:
- What does the process really look like?
- Where are the daily challenges and deviations from process?
- What are the most technically demanding parts of the process?
- What is the right technology combination?
- What will be the total cost of ownership and when will payback be realised?
- Can the project achieve the goals you have defined?
5. Embrace Change
Our final tip is … don’t try and shoehorn technology into your existing processes. Embracing change is absolutely critical to the successful delivery of an identification project.
If you are currently moving from a manual system or even a barcode-based system then your processes will be based around the quantities and speeds at which you are currently able to collect information. This is going to change dramatically as you start to look at new technologies, with the speed and quality of acquisition increasing dramatically.
Take a completely holistic, high-level view of the whole operation and look at where the bottlenecks might be. For example, is the benefit of a decrease in the time taken to inbound raw goods likely to be wasted with a production line that cannot handle the increased capacity?
How Coriel can help
Coriel is a specialist systems integrator, focused on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 solutions. Over the last 12 years of delivering projects, our team has built an extensive knowledge base, together with the expertise needed to implement reliable solutions that deliver immediate, value-driven business benefits.
Our specific expertise lies in digitally connecting items, enabling process automation, and developing the business tools needed to enhance operations within industrial application sectors. By working closely and collaboratively with our customers, we gain a deep and intrinsic understanding of their business needs and strategic goals, which allows us to design, implement and support solutions that typically exceed the original objectives.
Hopefully this short guide has been useful and given you some things to think about, but no business or project is the same as another. If you’d like to talk through your plans, then our team is at your disposal. We’re head quartered in Derby, UK but have colleagues located across the country and recently opened an office in Spain to service our mainland European projects.
The best time to involve us is right at the beginning as you start to think about what you need to achieve, what you need to know, how you’re going to use the data you collect and how your business needs to change to make the project deliver on its objectives.
We’re used to working with businesses of all sizes and projects that range from small self-contained problems through to multi-site, large-scale roll outs across a range of industries, please contact us for more information.