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  1. 1. An Introduction to RFID RFID technology promises a world of networked & interconnected objects. Everything from tires to toothbrushes might soon be in “communication range”, heralding a new era; one in which today’s internet (of computers) will give way to the “INTERNET OF THINGS”. And the possibility of “things communicating with other things”. The potential application areas are mind-boggling. However, two broad trends are certain: o The current smart card technology will be replaced by “contact-less smart cards”. This in turn will usher in the “Internet of people”. o Bar-codes will give way to the RF-tag (electronic bar-code). This in turn will enable articles to be sensed in real-time. The context-sensitive information (who, what, where & when), along with their logical inter-relationships (who was with what at time X), which RFID makes available, unleashes a range of possibilities, and range new generation real-time applications – in all walks of life. Global standards have been formulated, and now, there no stops to the rapid adoption of RFID: o ISO 15693 – The standard for contact-less smart card applications o EPC Global – for implementation of globally visible supply chains, and tracking an item, at the unit level (say on the retail shelf). A. Context sensitive healthcare from Sofscript Context-sensitive healthcare is defined as “the ability of systems, applications, devices, persons and clinical spaces to automatically initiate actions, or be controlled, based real-time events, or relevant circumstances”. Pre-determined responses are possible without active human intervention. Context-sensitive systems can measurably improve healthcare safety and accuracy and dramatically increase financial and operational performance of the “total healthcare system” – with benefits to all stakeholders. To deploy such applications, the requirements are: o Positive identification of persons and things o Real-time Location Identification o Time-stamp of “events” Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology enables a variety of context-sensitive applications such as: o Automated Billing & Record Keeping o Automated Patient Safety Monitoring o Automated Medication Safety and & Documentation o Automated Medical Device Control & Asset Tracking o Real-time Inventory Management of critical items o Automated Hospital Administration, Access Control & Security Management. The range of possibilities are mind-boggling, each with it’s level of sophistication, technological complexity and cost-benefit ratios. Sofscript has deep domain knowledge and the technical expertise to deliver “complete” context-sensitive (RFID) healthcare solutions. Here are some reasons why hospitals must consider RFID:  Reduce medical errors, with accurate data. The Institute of Medicine has estimated 98,000 deaths per year in the US, on this count. Improper data the cause of surgical errors, 1 in 25 times. Many of these errors are attributable to “errors during manual data entry”. Because RFID enables automated sensing, the incidence of errors of manual intervention may be largely prevented. 1
  2. 2.  An improvement in Patient care. • Personalized services Every in-patient can be identified (by his wrist band) and this identity is linked to patient data. Which in turn make “personalized” service – diagnosis, medical procedures, drug administration, diet, billing, and other procedures possible. • Reduced cycle times Currently, large proportion of staff time is lost in “searching” - for patient records, pathology sample, X-Ray. Once the RFID (identification) is integrated with the Hospital Information System, a sharp increase in staff productivity is possible.  Better return on capital employed. • Critical inventory such as stents, will be closely monitored. • Expensive assets will be available at the right place & time.  Security and Hospital Administration will improve. Despite access to the “public”, the hospital must remain a highly secure. Manual security systems are not capable of “enforcing” security. But RFID can provide a robust and automated security system, 24x7! 2
  3. 3. B. RFID in Logistics & Supply Chain Management. Logistics RFID-enabled solution Potential Benefits Process Receiving  Electronic ASN available  Accuracy and speed of receiving  Incoming “container” could be soft tagged – for e.g. operations improved.  contains waybill. Verify with ASN. Dock door readers automatically read RFID tags  Receipt updates can be made in MINUTES. In manual attached to pallets, cases. High value items can be operations, it can take 2-3 days, individually tagged. on average. A DIRECT SAVING OF 2-3 DAYS INVENTORY CARRYING COSTS. Pre-packaging  As per customer specifications.  “Slap & ship” RFID labels, to  Provide “slap & ship” service. meet compliance mandates.  Put into RF-tagged put-away bins  EXPORTERS VERY EAGER FOR THIS SERVICE Put-away  Forklift and locations (cells) are fitted with RFID  Put-away accuracy improves to readers. nearly 100%- The items are  Put-away containers are “soft” tracked – i.e. based on always available at the intended container id, its contents can be derived e.g. “100 9inch locations. Estimated 3-5% bolts are put-away on shelf S.101”. shrinkage is eliminated by RFID.  A wi-fi link for communication between interacting  Real-time inventory reduces devices is set-up – a put-away list sent to a forklift “cycle count” costs by 95%. reader. Order-filling  Customer’s order-fill instructions are converted to pick-  System-wide visibility improves lists (and pick-paths), after verifying for availability of fill-rate, e.g. items for order in parts and any other criteria e.g. dealer credit level, etc. the receiving dock. RFID  Dealer-wise “dispatch containers” (again soft tracking Enabled, visibility has enabled enabled) are created – i.e. container –id is associated companies achieve 95% facing / with details such as customer address, packing list on-line fill rate, and 98% system details, etc. fill rate.  The picking time is reduced from hours to minutes. Dispatch  The correct dispatch containers are loaded on the  Track & Trace service can be correct vehicle. The waybill can be soft-tracked to the offered to customers. dispatch container.  Dispatch errors eliminated. 2-5% error rate made virtually zero. 3
  4. 4. C. RFID in Retail Environment.  Real-time visibility of inventory, across the supply chain. Real data and Analytics – will drive merchandising, promotion, product placement, replenishment and planning decisions Best Practice Enabler Comments Pricing , Product Placement  RFID enabled “smart shelf” High value players, serious – jewelry, and Promotion strategy aligned  Following the shopping cart watches, ready-made garments with shelf-stock Flexible buy-back. Retailers • RFID tags for authentication  In pharmaceuticals – anti- give space more willingly. counterfeiting mandatory.  Pro-active information re: expiry dates. Sales incentives based on sell-  Accurate POS data from retailer  TLOG data shared through web- through services Single stage monitoring of  Pull-based, single point for  3PL companies will have to Continuous Replenishment replenishment provide this service System • Automatic Triggers  Track& Trace, GPS, RFID… • Smart shelf again!  Stocks of SKU <epc> at  Demand fulfilled by a Locations <reader1, ….n> are consolidated “virtual warehouse” <s1….sn>. • Stock information across all stages available. • Cross docking Best Practice Enabler Comments Reduction in replenishment  Speed up receiving process at all  B2B and B2C exchanges are lead times stages: proving their value. Web • ASN services standards define • Web-services (like EDI, but templates, workflows, etc. XML based) • ebXML • Automatic update of • ROSETTANET inventory records (RFID • ODETTE reads) • HL-7 Reduce Lot size. Increase  Reduce ordering (and receiving) replenishment frequency and costs product variety. • Automatic replenishment order • Web-services to automate ordering process. Manage LTL cost effectively  Accurate and speedy Hub & 3 PL must come up to steam Spoke operations by 3 PL • Milk-runs • Cross Docking 4