The Three Parts of a Digital Solution.
Updated: Oct 8, 2020
Height safety is a physical world, and along with climbers, there is a hesitance to spend more time in the digital world, but these tools are designed to reduce admin time, getting us home safe and sound, so lets look at how this happens.
The first step of a digital solution is to make your produces scannable. Why?
Because reading serial numbers, and typing them out is slow, and inaccurate.
There are some great technologies now for identifying "hard to mark" assets, like carabiners:
Barcode / QR Code / Data Matrix - these can be laser etched onto the items or printed onto labels which can be sewn into soft goods, or applied to products. These can be read by mobile phone cameras or handheld Bluetooth® scanners for use with laptops.
NFC or Near Field Communication - this is part of the RFID technology, it uses High Frequency RFID to communicate with readers or mobile phones, which very commonly now have NFC built in. There are a few examples of NFC in use, from JSP & Kong.
UHF RFID or Ultra High Frequency RFID - also commonly called RAIN RFID now, this is the latest "race horse" of the RFID world to back. It's been developed to read multiple items at a time, from a distance, which is perfect for inventory management. It can also be read on contact for inspection management, where you only want one serial number to update at a time.
The second piece of the puzzle, is "what is this item I'm scanning?"
Connecting your data to the serial number on your items allows your users to instantly reference all of the relevant information for that product, such as the specifications, along with the user instructions, configuration guidelines, inspection check lists, videos, certifications of conformity, batch test certificates, the list is endless.
Yes, all of this information is on your website, but copying this info across to a management software is still painfully slow.
Once your customers have scanned the item, on receipt of goods, confirmed authenticity, and seen how much supporting information you offer behind the serial number, they need to put this data into their choice of management software.
For some this might be Microsoft Excel, for others they will be using subscription software such as Papertrail.io or for some companies, they have even built their own software solutions for keeping track of their equipment.
The easier manufacturers can make it for their users to access & use their product data, and keep it to hand, for quick reference for an in-field technical question, the happier and safer height safety operators will be.