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How to Run an RFID Pilot

August 14, 2023

In today's fast-paced world, businesses are always looking for ways to improve their efficiency and streamline their operations. One technology that has been gaining popularity in recent years is Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). RFID is a wireless technology that uses radio waves to automatically identify and track objects. It has become an essential tool for businesses looking to improve their inventory management, supply chain visibility, and overall operational efficiency. However, implementing an RFID system can be a significant investment, and it's crucial to ensure that it will provide the desired benefits. That's where running an RFID pilot comes in. In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of running an RFID pilot for your location and the process involved in doing so. By the end of this post, you'll have a better understanding of how an RFID pilot can help you see the benefits of implementing an RFID system.

What is a Pilot?

A pilot is an experimental or preliminary test of your solution. It is small-scale and short-term and is used to help businesses understand how a full-scale deployment would work in practice. A successful pilot program allows businesses to understand the value of a solution while also working through any potential challenges before a large-scale roll out. A pilot is typically initiated with a Pilot Proposal which lists the objectives and details how the pilot will be executed along a time line and metrics for evaluating success.

Why Pilot?

  • Lowers risk: By minimizing resource usage, the risk of failure is reduced. It also provides an opportunity to assess true performance through controlled live experiments.
  • Makes ideas tangible: Running a pilot allows you to test your ideas and refine them before a large-scale rollout.
  • Provides opportunity to learn: A pilot gives you an opportunity to confirm expected results. You can also test and measure the benefits of a proposed solution to help anticipate the impact of a full rollout.
  • Improves solution: A pilot allows you to identify potential improvements in the solution or its implementation and enhances projections of the benefits from a full rollout.
  • Stakeholder relations: A pilot can help increase stake-holder buy-in by being able to quickly deliver a version of the solution to a targeted segment of the client population.

Pilot Plan

 A Pilot Plan involves the following steps:

  • Defining Pilot Purpose & Goals:
    • Specify what needs to be piloted and implemented.
    • Define project benefits and objectives that the pilot should demonstrate.
  • Pilot Scope:
    • Use prioritization matrices to narrow the focus.
    • Determine measurement size, boundaries, and realism factors.
    • Specify when and where the pilots will occur.
  • Timeline: Consider product availability, hardware resources, and service availability.
  • Activities List: Align with the timeline and assess feasibility.
  • Articulating Steps & Tasks: Define actions, owners, affected processes, and schedules.
  • Conducting Pilots: Determine the duration required for understanding process stability.
  • Result Tracking: Decide on tracking mechanisms.
  • Useful Tools: Employ various tools like tree diagrams, flowcharts, and Gantt Charts.
  • Budget and Resources:
    • Identify necessary team members, equipment, and materials.
    • Plan training and communications.
  • Monitoring Plan: Define measurements, goals, and strategies for handling issues.
  • Evaluation of Results: Prepare contingency plans and exit strategies.
  • Issue Handling: Address disruptions and minimize their impact.

Run the Pilot

  • Collect data on internal and external factors that may be influencing the process.
  • Expose the pilot to as broad of a range of inputs and process conditions as possible.

After the Pilot

  • Collect and Evaluate Pilot Results.
    • Analyze the gaps between the predicted performance and the actual performance.
  • Root cause the gaps to determine why and if solution changes are needed.
  • Analyze the pilot plan. What worked? What didn’t? What had to be added or changed?
    • Communicate Pilot Results
  • Create a summary of the strategy used to pilot the solution and communicate the results achieved
    • Solicit Stakeholder Feedback:
  • Change management is a key part of project success. Soliciting feedback during stakeholder interviews gives you access to thoughts from those impacted by the project.
  • Review the original stakeholder analysis to determine how/if anything has changed, and what you may want to do to address those results.