Common Mistakes Companies Make When Deploying an RFID Solution

Often the CEO is skeptical of RFID, and someone lower down the command chain convinces the company to deploy a solution to solve a problem

Mark Roberti

During my 20 years as editor of RFID Journal, I spoke to many companies that had RFID deployments go awry. Here are the mistakes I saw most often.

Going with an inexperienced integrator: Often, companies will find a local bar-code integrator or RFID startup and ask them to deploy an RFID asset tracking system. These companies usually don’t have a lot of experience, and the projects often run into problems. The inexperienced integrator will propose an expensive workaround. After wasting a lot of money, the end user either abandons the project or calls in an experienced RFID company to salvage the problem.

Mark Roberti

Looking for a quick fix: Many companies struggle to track parts bins, containers, or other reusable assets. Since a percentage of these are lost every year, they decide to adopt an RFID solution. There is nothing wrong with this, except they may find later that they want to track tools, finished inventory or other items, and the system they deployed cannot accommodate these items.

Not educating the RFID team: Companies don’t know what they don’t know about RFID, and executives don’t spend the time to learn much. Members of the team don’t know the right questions to ask. As a result, they wind up taking the solution that their RFID solution provider offers, even if it isn’t the best or most effective one, or if the approach isn’t the least expensive one.

Deploying RFID for the sake of using RFID. Occasionally, I get calls from companies saying, “We think we should be using RFID. Where do we start?” That’s absurd. You start with a business problem. If RFID is the solution, then use it. If not, use something else.

Not getting buy-in from the top. This is the biggest issue. Often the CEO is skeptical of RFID, and someone lower down the command chain convinces the company to deploy a solution to solve a problem. Even if when the system works and delivers value, if the RFID champion leaves the company or switches to another role, the RFID system is often not managed problem and is sometimes pulled out. For major deployments, RFID must have the support of senior management and must become part of the company’s way of doing business.

All of these mistakes are easily avoidable. A good consultant can help ensure an RFID deployment stays on track and delivers long-term value.

Mark Roberti is the founder and former editor of RFID Journal