How can RFID tagging your employees increase productivity?

How can RFID tagging your employees increase productivity?

From bonuses to gamification, over the years employers have tried just about anything in order to increase engagement and productivity in their workplaces.

However, as technology continues to advance, it was only inevitable that we’d start to see gadgets come into play as a mechanism for upping output. Today, we’re going to be exploring one such example, RFID tagging. Short for Radio Frequency Identification, RFID tagging is used in everything from tracking pets to monitoring patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

In this article, we’ll explore what it is, and how you can put it into action to improve productivity in your business.

An RFID tagging solution up close showing the microchips and antennas
RFID tags use antennas and microchips to communicate between tags and readers

How do RFID tags work?

At a fundamental level, RFID tagging refers to the use of smart barcodes as a tracking system that can identify items. RFID tags use radio wave technology that broadcasts data from an antenna in the tag to a microchipped reader. The information that the reader gathers is then immediately imparted to a RFID computer program.

There are two types of RFID tags:

  1. Battery operated RFID tags: These tags feature an in-built power supply, and are sometimes known as active RFID tags
  2. Passive RFID tags: These require no battery because they lie dormant until they’re awakened by the electromagnetic energy emitted by the RFID reader

While performing the same function, there are pros and cons when comparing Battery RFID tags and Passive RFID tags. Firstly, Battery RFID tags have a longer range than their passive counterparts, However, passive RFID tags are generally a lot cheaper to purchase and maintain, due to the lack of power supply needed for their operation. They are also usually lighter, and more durable.

As a result, you will often see Battery RFID tags being used for applications that may require real-time tracking – for example, monitoring fleet vehicles. Due to their attributes, Passive RFID tags are perfect for functions that include file or supply chain management.

The RFID tag that you choose will be based on your business’ precise requirements, and the amount you wish to invest. It’s important to keep the above in mind, and be sure to shop around when selecting RFID tags.

A digital depiction of a radio frequency from RFID Tagging
RFID stands for radio frequency identification

Using RFID tags to improve productivity

So, how can this technology be used in business settings to improve employee productivity?

In the same way that a barcode can be placed on a product, and RFID readers used to track its progress through business processes, employees can be given RFID tags to keep on their person throughout the work day. These can be in the form of belt loops, or simple readers that can be carried in pockets.

1. Monitoring work rate

The employee’s work throughout the day can then be logged as they come into contact with strategically placed RFID tags throughout the premises. A commonly used example is a security guard doing rounds of a complex. By installing RFID tags at certain places where the guard should be passing on their circuit, management can log how many laps they are doing, and therefore gain insights into how proactive this employee is being in keeping the facility safe.

You can also think of this in a warehouse setting. Imagine you have employees, or even robots, that should be coming and going between certain points in your warehouse in order to move stock around or complete administrative duties. By placing RFID tags next to key drop-off or delivery zones in the warehouse, you can get an understanding of how productive a given employee is being in completing their assigned tasks.

2. Clocking in and out

Many warehouses still use computer or even pen and paper mechanisms for tracking the hours of shift workers. Already, RFID tags are becoming a popular and reliable way of modernising this procedure, as employees can simply tag themselves in and out of work using their reader.

An outdated timesheet with a pen writing employee clock on and clock off times
RFID technology can help businesses eliminate unwieldy timesheets

3.  Locating employees

In large or complex facilities, being unable to locate personnel can be incredibly frustrating and a big time suck. While pagers, mobile phones or radios enable communication between staff in different locations, if you simply need to know who can respond most quickly to help with a task, RFID tags can give you real-time updates of where staff are, and who you should contact for immediate support.

In the same way, you can use RFID trackers to reduce or eliminate the costly and unnecessary downtime that comes with misplaced tools. Because RFID tags can be read at long distances, don’t require line of site visibility between the antenna and microchip, and use real-time information they’re perfect for keeping track of essential tools that are required for the day-to-day operation of your business.

Other ways RFID tagging can improve businesses

It’s clear that RFID tagging has much to offer when it comes to improving productivity and streamlining your operation. However, that’s not all they can do to improve your output, and job satisfaction for your staff. Here are some additional benefits:

Health and safety peace of mind

Many companies still operate on a simple roll call system to ascertain whether all staff have made is safely out of the facility in the event of an emergency. The problem comes when people are indeed missing – it’s not good enough to know that they aren’t present, you need to start locating them, and fast. RFID tags can be integral to this, due to the real-time location monitoring we mentioned earlier. This can allow you to direct emergency crews to the correct areas, and ensure your staff get out safely.

An emergency exit sign hanging from the ceiling
You can use RFID tagging to locate employees in emergencies

Improving decision making

Using RFID tagging can also help you make better decisions with regards to stocking. While human data loggers are prone to miscalculations, RFID tags can monitor what you have in stock, helping you to optimise your ordering processes so that you only invest in new stock when you really need it.

For more information on technology and solutions that can help you raise the bar on productivity in your organisation, get in touch with the experts at Brother today.


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