Getting Fast ROI with RFID

Learn how RFID is ideal for solving today’s problems in this 30-minute, on-demand webinar.

Listen to a panel of experts discuss the latest RFID advancements, why RFID is better than barcoding, and how popular-use cases are achieving fast ROI.

Why not contact the RFID experts at Vantage ID? We’d love to help. Call (866) 234-8468 or email us, no-obligation, no pressure.

Webinar Transcript

Sandra Kolder – Moderator:

Welcome to today’s webinar. We have a fabulous panel of RFID experts from Zebra Technologies and Vantage ID to talk about the latest and greatest in RFID, what’s new and what’s trending. To kick it off, I’ll turn it over to the panel to give brief introductions. Sue, would you please start?

Susan Flake:

Thank you and hello. I’m Susan Flake, director of RFID business development for Zebra Technologies. I have been with Zebra almost 30 years now, with the last 15 focused on the RFID industry. I also chair AIMS Track and Trace worker, as well as sit on the board of both GS1 US and Auburn University.

Forrest James:

Hello, I’m Forrest James, Senior Account Manager for Vantage ID. I’ve been in the barcode industry for roughly 22 years, with the last 17 here at Vantage. RFID is definitely on the rise and I look forward to us enlightening our audience on the magic of RFID.

Pam Baker:

Hi, I’m Pam Baker, Director of Government Business at Vantage ID. I’m certified by Zebra as an RFID technical professional, and I’m really looking forward to helping our listeners navigate the world of RFID and help establish a roadmap for solutions that are not only simple to implement, but also provide a strong ROI.

Sandra Kolder – Moderator:

Thanks panelists. To start, within the last year, we’ve seen that RFID has become one of the emerging industries to watch. In other words, it’s hot and trending. What are you seeing that are indicating this growth within the industry? Sue, would you like to comment first?

Susan Flake:

Sure. The global RFID market is estimated by ID Tech to be $10.7 billion worldwide in 2021, and projected to reach $17.4 billion by 2026. These are great growth numbers and indicators of where the market is growing. Key factors fueling the growth of this market include the availability of cost-effective RFID solutions, high returns on investment, increasing regulations and government initiatives for various industries, and increasing installation of RFID systems, especially in manufacturing to improve productivity.

Pam Baker:

RFID is definitely becoming mainstream. RFID is the wave of the future and it may well replace barcode scanning one day. For a number of factors, we’re seeing a definite shift from barcoding to the utilization of RFID for tracking and tracing.

Forrest James:

Pam’s right, today RFID offers real ROI and fast. It’s no longer a science project. As a barcode nerd, and I hate to admit it, it’s better than barcodes.

Sandra Kolder – Moderator:

That’s quite a statement from a barcode nerd. Why? How is RFID better than barcoding?

Pam Baker:

Well, you can potentially process thousands of tags in seconds. It takes less time because you don’t need to see it to scan it. In the world of traditional barcoding, you need to be able to hold a scanning device within a certain range and have nothing that interrupts the line of sight between the scan engine and the item being scanned. With RFID, you no longer need to concern yourself with the line of sight.
Rather, you can literally scan entire room full of tagged items as long as you’re in reasonable proximity to the items that are tagged. Imagine the manpower, time, savings, and efficiencies that this difference could make.

Forrest James:

You don’t need to see what’s inside a box, carton, or pallet to scan it. And you don’t need to rely on a person to hit buttons to scan an item. RFID readers can scan automatically for you.

Susan Flake:

With no line of sight needed and combined with the speed of which RFID allows for capturing data, RFID is extremely accurate as well. Traditional barcode inventory accuracy ranges on average from 75% to 80%, while RFID steps that number up and raises accuracy levels to 99 plus percent. In addition, RFID allows you to locate an item or asset very quickly with Geiger counter functionality. Great for finding that last asset, picking an order, or assigning tasks remotely to associates working in the area.

Sandra Kolder – Moderator:

There’s no questioning that RFID is a powerful solution, but it’s not exactly a new one, it’s been around for a long time. So why now? What’s different today?

Pam Baker:

Well, it comes down to the financials. Before it was cost prohibitive. Today, you can get an entry-level turnkey RFID solution for as little as around $5,000.

Forrest James:

Also, the cost of the tags have always made RFID too expensive. Now they are much lower price. Just a four by six RFID label themselves used to be around a quarter, and now you can find them for as low as 10 cents depending on the material and applications. Also, there’s just about a tag for every application, smaller tags and even tags designed to work in metal and liquids are readily available with the Zebra silver line offering. Before, tagging irregular shaped items or densely packed items was a challenge, but Zebra now has the off-axis, flag, and fin shaped labels.

Susan Flake:

Yes. And in addition to being cost-effective and overcoming any tagging concerns, we have seen an expansion of use cases across the various sectors as well. With simpler deployments and purpose-built solutions for scalability, improved performance and technology enhancements, for both the reader and the tag, and adoption of increased standardization, allowing interoperability. And lastly, the key to success, proven return on investment with business values that are well-documented.

Pam Baker:

It’s also easier than ever to integrate into existing processes and systems. One of the first questions I usually get is, how do I make this work with my current software infrastructure? People either have a complex established system, maybe an ERP that they need to integrate with, or in some cases are still using pen and paper, or an Excel spreadsheet, to track items. We have strong relationships with a number of software development companies with the expertise to make this part of your project go smoothly.

Sandra Kolder – Moderator:

You’re saying RFID is better than barcoding. Costs are going down; accuracy is going up. It’s easier to integrate into existing software systems, all at a time when the need for faster, more accurate information has never been greater. Where is my products, my shipment, my food, my other important asset?

Forrest James:

Right. E-commerce warehouses and distribution centers in particular need real time info to compete so RFID and picking, receiving logistics is really ramping up.

Susan Flake:

It’s a given, good inventory visibility is important regardless of industry or organization, but particularly in supply chain. We’re seeing more and more automation from handheld to hands-free. As companies continue to become more effective and efficient, and improve their productivity. All these trends started before the pandemic and COVID-19 only accelerated them.

Forrest James:

We’re really being forced to do more with less. That’s why when someone finds out they can do inventory in 30 minutes instead of five days…

Susan Flake:

I get the same reaction every time someone sees RFID in action, big smiles. They are amazed at by how quickly and accurately they have captured the tags. With that in mind, RFID reduces the labor needed to perform inventory cycle counts with less human error. This is important as the available labor force continues to shrink on average 19% year over year.
In addition, we saw intense supply chain disruptions that COVID-19 brought, including shutdowns and quarantines, increased safety and distancing protocols that were initiated, along with skeleton crews performing multiple tasks and working longer hours. Automation with RFID can help to relieve the hiring and training needs, enabling associates to be more productive and up to speed very quickly for the task at hand.

Forrest James:

Yeah, the mistakes are just getting too expensive, lost inventory, lost customers, lost vital equipment, the loss of some items can’t be measured.

Sandra Kolder – Moderator:

Does anyone on the panel have any specific real-world examples?

Pam Baker:

Sure. We had a case where a university was having issues with the loss of campus owned property in dormitories. The use of barcoding had failed due to the time it took for staff to go room to room and to locate the barcode label on each piece of furniture. Tags were getting peeled off, furniture got moved around. Imagine how labor-intensive this is during move in and move out.
We provided an RFID solution where personnel were able to simply scan a dorm room and verify the location of all assets, all at once. The cost savings with both the personnel time efficiencies and the retention of assets made this a quick ROI for the campus.

Forrest James:

We also have a client who wanted to identify and trace the remains of pets to ensure that the correct remains went to the rightful owner. In this case, the ROI was a peace of mind that they offered to their clients. You see, knowing the exact location of critical assets quickly with little manual labor is really driving RFID projects and all types of use cases.

Pam Baker:

In the public services arena, RFIDs become more and more valuable. We’ve seen use cases in fire departments, for example, that need to account for PPE, medications, and assets. This is now being done very efficiently with RFID and saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost inventory. And we’re also seeing government entities take advantage of the CARES Act funding to make improvements to their asset tracking by investing in RFID technologies.

Susan Flake:

We are definitely seeing more government entities and private industry implement RFID to tracking and tracing potentially contagious items in medical, forensics, and other environments. COVID is changing the way we do things and we believe a lot of those changes will continue post COVID.

Forrest James:

It’s also being used for emergencies, essentially muster stations. Facilities are being outfitted with fixed mount readers and RFID enabled employee badges so during an emergency evacuation, you can quickly know the location of each employee. You’ll know exactly who’s left in the building, where they are, almost immediately. Much faster than taking roll calls and reporting who’s missing.

Sandra Kolder – Moderator:

RFID technology has been brought up several times by the panelists, why Zebra specifically?

Susan Flake:

Zebra Technologies is the global market share leader in passive UHF RFID reader category, with more fixed, handheld, and portable RFID systems installed than any other RFID provider. We have more 579, and counting, RFID technology patents and industry firsts. We reinvest 10% of our revenue back into R & D, which enables us to continue to bring new innovation to the market space. We have over 200 engineers focused full-time on RFID and provide end to end solution simplicity, including fixed and mobile RFID readers and antennas that maximize RFID performance, along with RFID printers and supplies for every application and use case.

Pam Baker:

Zebra has been a great partner for Vantage ID. Their engineering team will work hand in hand with our team and yours to, first, determine if RFID is the correct solution for your use case, and then assist us in walking your team through a successful implementation.

Sandra Kolder – Moderator:

What does Vantage ID bring to the table then? And what’s special about the Vantage ID, Zebra partnership?

Forrest James:

Zebra does not sell directly to end users, but rather partners with companies, such as Vantage, for the sales support and distribution of their products. They count on us to pull it all together.

Forrest James:

Zebra manufacturers the hardware and Vantage ID helps you figure out everything you need and how it should all work together. We’re pretty good at it since we’ve been doing it a long time. We’ve learned a lot over the years.

Susan Flake:

Zebra relies on our partner, Vantage ID, to provide our products, services, and supplies to our customers that in turn enables Vantage ID to deliver complete solutions, bringing along with it real-world experience and value.

Forrest James:

Yes, Vantage has been in business for more than 28 years and is a longtime partner with Zebra. We even sold our label presses to Zebra, they use them in their San Diego plant today. We do a large volume of business with Zebra, which tends to give us a great buy rate, which equates to savings that we’re able to pass onto our customers.

Pam Baker:

Forrest, don’t forget the software integration component. Vantage, along with Zebra, has preferred software partners that we work with to provide the software portion of the solution. Getting folks from pen and paper application to a state-of-the-art technologies with no disruption to daily activities is our goal.
The bottom line is, you start by partnering with us, you get the vast knowledge of years of professional expertise, the leading hardware in the industry, and more importantly, hands-on experience that’ll ensure a successful launch in continuation of your RFID project.

Pam Baker:

In addition, we own the solution in its entirety. For you, that means no finger pointing and one point of accountability.

Sandra Kolder – Moderator:

If my interest is peaked and I want to know if RFID will work for me, how do I get started?

Forrest James:

Just pick up the phone, or send an email, we’re pretty laid back and try to talk to folks in terms of make the process as simple as possible.

Pam Baker:

It really is as simple as an email or a quick call. From there, we’ll set up a very low key discovery call to see how we might be of service and determine if RFID is the right solution for your organization.

Susan Flake:

As I often tell customers, keep it simple. Don’t overcomplicate the first step, focus on a primary business case and just get started. Pick up the phone or email Vantage ID. They’re great people and very knowledgeable in the industry. With Vantage ID, you’re in good hands to see if RFID is the right solution fit for you.

Pam Baker:

If you have a project in mind, but you’re not sure if RFID is a feasible solution, please reach out to us and take advantage of our resources. Give you a free professional assessment and a roadmap to solve your track and tracing needs.

Sandra Kolder – Moderator:

Wonderful. Well, thank you again to our panel of experts and for everyone who took the time to join us for our discussion today. If you do have any further questions or comments, or would like some more information, please reach out to Vantage ID. Otherwise, have a wonderful rest of your day. Thank you again.

Why not contact the RFID experts at Vantage ID? We’d love to help. Call (866) 234-8468 or email us, no-obligation, no pressure.