RFID Solution: File Storage
RFID File Storage Solution
Efficient and secure management of non-digital files is a major challenge in many office environments. Typical solutions involve barcoding and/or manually signing the files in and out with nothing but a pen and a piece of paper. Electronic check-in and check-out with barcodes and using sign-out sheets are inefficient file tracking methods for several reasons:
- If a file is lost, personnel spend a lot of time trying to locate the missing file, which may result in missed deadlines and missed opportunities.
- Having to send a company-wide email asking the whereabouts of a file can be disruptive to the workflow of other employees.
- Even if a barcoding system is in place, it's effective only when people use it. Unfortunately, compliance is an issue in some organizations.
- While some file storage systems are able to say whether a file is checked in or checked out, they are unable to track the file once it has been removed from the filing area. Sometimes checked-out files are transferred to people who did not originally sign them out. Aside from increasing the likelihood of losing a file, this type of system also poses a threat to information security.
- When losing files is a common occurrence, this may cause staff to "lose" even more files by storing them in their own offices to guarantee that they'll be available when they need them. Of course, this prevents other people from being able to use the files, and the cycle of file-hunting starts over.
Finally, there is a solution to the above problems: RFID file storage. RFID, or radio-frequency identification, is becoming increasingly popular among companies of all sizes as a means to track products, inventory, assets, and even people.
RFID file storage systems allow organizations to track files with greater efficiency and security, which ultimately reduces costs. Tracking inventory with RFID is as easy to do as it is with barcoding, but it has significant advantages over barcode solutions. The most notable is that RFID tags do not require a line-of-sight to be read. Barcodes, on the other hand, must be lined up with a scanner and usually cannot be more than 1-2 feet away from the scanner.
Implementing an RFID file storage and tracking solution is straightforward in comparison to other RFID applications. Basically, each file or box/cabinet of files has an RFID tag, whose data are read by a portable RFID reader and validated against a database. As you walk through your file room and pass the reader over the edges of the files (in a way similar to scanning barcode labels), you will be alerted to any items that have been misfiled.
You can also track the whereabouts of files throughout your facility by implementing a check-in/check-out system that goes beyond the file room walls: each staff member will have a small RFID reader at his or her desk so that files can be tracked as they are transferred from person to person. Compliance won't be an issue because reading tag data does not require staff to manually document file transfers to other individuals -- any RFID readers in the vicinity of the file will automatically detect the file's location and update the database accordingly. Then, when users search the database for a file, they will know who has it. An additional benefit of such a system is that it can deter unauthorized possession of sensitive files.
Applying RFID technology to file management can greatly improve an organization's productivity while reducing costs.
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