Evanhoe tagged and tracked 120,000 IT Assets across 8 buildings and 5 states. Within two-and-a-half years, the USPTO saw a return on their investment with the following results:
- Error costs down 54%
- Labor costs down 77%
- Loss prevention costs down 98%.
- 11,132 labor hours saved per year
- $1.2 Million saved annually using RAIN RFID technology
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a performance-based agency under the Department of Commerce (DOC), files patent applications and trademark registrations.
Every year, the USPTO struggled to meet the DOC’s mandate to inventory all assets. Employees, including senior-level management, spent roughly 7,700 hours a year managing assets rather than reviewing revenue-generating applications. Tom King, Vickie Bryant, and Wes Clark of the USPTO met to discuss solutions for this inefficient process.
After some research, these managers discovered passive UHF RFID (ultra-high frequency, radio frequency identification, or RAIN RFID) technology and Evanhoe’s work on a real-time locating system (RTLS) for the U.S. Air Force (USAF). Evanhoe helped the USPTO automate their inventory process by putting RFID tags on each item and installing RFID readers. These readers, located in doorways and stairwells, reads the tags as they move between rooms, floors and in and out of buildings. That data is sent to a software platform, ItemAware, which transforms the data into useful information such as “last seen location”, “status” and “history”.
Evanhoe implemented RAIN RFID using Metalcraft Universal RFID asset tags that are designed to work on metal, plastic, and wood surfaces. The tag has a read range of 15-27 feet, meeting the requirement of a 17-foot read range for laptops. Impinj Speedway Revolution 220 and 240 readers were installed in hallways and doorways, determined by site surveys and the USPTO’s requirements. Impinj Speedway xPortal R640 readers were also installed at the base of stairways to detect floor-to-floor movement, chosen for their aesthetic qualities. Alien Technology ALH-9001 handheld readers were also purchased to support inventorying.
The software platform is an enterprise-level platform that resides on USPTO’s network servers. The system can be readily integrated with the Remedy ERP, capturing data from tag reads and providing real-time visibility into assets’ locations. According to King, the user interface is simple and direct, and seamless integration with the existing system was key to being successful.
The result is a significant reduction in the number of errors. On the last business day of each month, workers use handheld readers to verify each asset’s location – reading hundreds of tags in a matter of minutes – then update this information in the ERP system. The system produces a monthly report indicating the last seen location and who removed the asset, allowing for quick resolution. Within two-and-a-half years, the USPTO saw a return on their investment with error, labor, and loss prevention costs down, over 11,132 labor hours saved per year and $1.2 Million saved annually.
- Passive Ultra-High Frequency (RAIN) RFID
- ItemAware Asset Tracking and Inventory Management Software
- Metalcraft Universal RFID Asset tags
- Impinj Speedway Revolution R220 and R440 readers
- Impinj Speedway xPortal R640 reader
- Impinj xArray R680 readers
- Alien Technology ALH-9001 hand-held readers
- Project Management Institute (PMI) Best Practices implemented by a Project Management Professional (PMP)
“We learned that the technology behind RFID isn’t complicated or hard to implement, but it represents a new way of thinking about asset management, and how to let technology do the grunt work.”
Wes Clark, Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)
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