The company, which will soon launch a national franchise, in 2010 began using a fleet of vehicles that came with a built-in RFID system that could be used for managing tools, inventory and equipment used in servicing clients.
TekEase tags all its important or expensive tools, equipment and other inventory. Prior to implementing the RFID system, tool requirements for specific jobs were kept on lists with checkboxes, and technicians would need to look at each required tool and verify that he had it. The process had to be repeated at the end of each service trip, in order to verify that nothing was left behind at a job site.
With the system in place, before a technician goes on a job, he opens an application on an in-dash computer in the vehicle and selects the appropriate job type. The system automatically reads the tags of all tagged items in the vehicle and looks for the tags associated with the particular job type.
If any tags or items are missing, the system lists missing items, and the technician knows to look elsewhere for the items before leaving for the job visit.
When a job is complete, the technician loads the tools in the truck and uses the RFID system to make sure all the tools are in the vehicle.
"The key benefits we have realized [are] the ability to manage and better secure valuable assets, improvement of productivity and ultimately increased revenues," says Corbett Speciale, president of TekEase.
"RFID readers continue to improve and while there will always be some limits, the benefits already far outweigh those," Speciale says. RFID "will continue to big part of TekEase future," he says.
When will RFID likely reach critical mass in the U.S? "I would guess that within two or three years we will see retail apparel reach critical mass and switch to RFID," Roberti says. "That will lead to wider adoption in other sectors because it will show that the technology works and is mature. Also, the technology will be more visible because you will see people taking inventory of 1,000 items in 30 seconds. Right now, almost no CEOs have ever seen the power of RFID technology."
Bob Violino (Twitter: @BobViolino) is a freelance writer covering a variety of technology and business topics.
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