Real time location systems (RTLSs) are an advanced kind of tracking and resource management system – but they’re more than just that. If you incorporate an RTLS into your business, you could potentially save money, improve efficiency, expand your tracking and measurement capabilities, and ultimately boost your profitability.
The question is, how do these systems work? And how are you supposed to use them in your business?
The Basics of RTLSs
A RTLS is a system that automatically identifies and tracks the location of specific things, which could include objects or people. And as the full name implies, this tracking is done in real time. To make the system function properly, you’ll need to attach specific RTLS tags onto the objects you want to track (or give people name-badge tags if you need to track their location). These tags will emit and receive wireless signals, which feed back into a central system.
You can use an RTLS for applications like tracking the progress of automobiles throughout an assembly line, keeping tabs on workers within a factory for safety reasons, locating pallets of items in a warehouse, or locating specific pieces of equipment in a medical facility.
Typically, RTLSs utilize radio frequency (RF) communication, but these days, Bluetooth technology can also be used.
Since there’s significant room for flexibility and customization, businesses can structure an RTLS however they want to achieve the greatest benefits.
Some of these benefits include:
- Streamlined production and efficiency. For starters, an RTLS can lead your business to higher productivity and efficiency. When employees can find what they’re looking for easily, and when your systems typically update automatically (reducing the need for manual effort), you’ll save time and get more done.
- Easier asset maintenance. RTLSs can also make asset maintenance much easier and more consistent. The right tracking system will notify employees when an asset is in need of maintenance or repair.
- Transparency and tracking. With your RTLS online, you can quickly and conveniently track just about everything in your business, including both objects and people. With these data, you can conduct more thorough analyses of how you’re using resources and provide your customers with greater transparency.
- Security and safety. When utilized correctly, an RTLS can also increase the security and safety of your organization. This tracking system can help you keep tabs on your employees and authorize certain users for certain actions, enabling you to control accessibility within your organization.
- Analytics and knowledge. Perhaps most importantly, your RTLS will be constantly gathering data on how your business is operating. With an analytical approach, you can study these data and form conclusions about the efficiency of your business.
How to Use RTLSs in Your Business
So how are you supposed to take advantage of RTLSs in your business?
- Set goals. First, set your goals. Too many business owners want to integrate an RTLS as quickly as possible before they fully understand their own business needs. Take the time to understand your primary motivations for integrating such a system and lay out the main things you want to achieve.
- Identify KPIs. How are you going to measure success? What will convince you that the RTLS is working correctly or that it’s in need of further tweaks? Concrete key performance indicators (KPIs) will give you the crucial benchmarks you need.
- List and document your current IT systems. Before you incorporate a major new technology into your business, it pays to know about all your current IT systems. What points of overlap will there be? How will you integrate this system into your existing technology systems?
- Choose the right partner. You’ll need a partner to help you design, build, and integrate your RTLS. This partner will have a disproportionate influence on the outcome of your new strategy, so review your options carefully and choose wisely.
- Plan with scale in mind. Even if your business is currently small, it’s important to design an RTLS that can scale to a much larger size. That way, you’ll have plenty of room to grow.
- Build in flexibility. A flexible system that’s easy to change will make it easier to adapt over time.
- Properly train your employees. Your RTLS is only as good as the employees using it. Make sure you train your employees on how to use this system properly.
- Evaluate and improve. Take the time to evaluate the effects of your RTLS, review your KPIs, and make continuous improvements so you can keep pushing efficiency higher.
With a solid RTLS in place, your business can potentially operate more efficiently, save time and money while providing better service to your customers. It’s not a guarantee of success, nor is it the right move for every business, but it can make a significant impact in your bottom-line productivity.