Business plan: introduction of RFID technology in Knowledge Vault Library Assessment

Executive Summary

Knowledge Vault Library is a reputed name in the library services industry, having being in operation for the past decade servicing over a million knowledge-thirsty visitors. The pursuit of knowledge has become a part of today’s society since the society is rapidly changing and individuals are undertaking rigorous reading so as to remain steadfast in knowledge that enable them tackle real life situations.

This has been to a great advantage to Knowledge Vaults Libraries, as the number of visitors in our libraries increase day-by-day, though possessing a great challenge to its management necessitating new changes and improvement of its facilities for better services of its clientele.

The institution has proposed to install a state of the art RFID technology that will enable the library tag its precious items, introduce self serving technology where users of the library can serve themselves, detect and track materials to enhance security (Butters 2006, 168).

Organizations and employees are often required to change and embrace new technology and thus this will be an opportunity for the library to acquire and implement RFID technology from 3m. Libraries are required to operate efficiently so that users of the library can continuously gain knowledge and use all facilities belonging to the library efficiently and leave the items in a good condition as they found them.

Management of the library may think that introducing new technology is quite expensive but on the good side the organization is likely to face more benefits in the long run. Libraries are often subject to vandalism and theft and thus this business plan aims to stress the importance of putting in place Radio Frequency Identification technology (RFID) so that the library will be able to track its property at all time an minimize any cases of theft or mischief among the users ( Butters, 2006, p.166).

Additionally RFID is known to increase the efficiency of librarians and all activities within the library thereby enabling users to locate materials quickly but at the same time also minimize employee costs by keeping the number of employees required to work in the library extremely low.

Aim & Objectives

Tracking and locating books can sometimes be a quite daunting and very tiring process that ends up exhausting librarians and also affecting the efficiency of service delivery in libraries. It is thus the objective of the organization to be one of the most respected libraries in this region by ensuring that those who visit our library facilities are served with a high degree of efficiency.

If the latest RFID technology is introduced then efficiency will also be realizes in the process of service delivery by making it easy to track academic materials and serve customers (Pro Security Zone, 2010).

Employee and labor costs are usually very high and many organizations find it particularly hard to sustain the high salaries of a large workforce, however with the introduction of RFID technologies, the library will be able to operate optimally with a reduced number of employees. Knowledge Vault Libraries aim to drive down payroll costs and this can be achieved by embracing RFID technology this way the company can save up to 50% of previous costs (Pro Security Zone, 2010).

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Losses arising out of theft of books has become a very important subject amongst libraries, libraries without RFID technologies often find themselves in a lot of problems because body cavity searches sometimes fail to achieve their goals because offenders use more complicated and diverse techniques to sneak books out of libraries making it hard for libraries to carry out their operations effectively.

But if RFID technology is introduced then the libraries will be able to not only capture thieves but also at the same time track their books once they have been borrowed. Older library technologies made it quite hard and very tiresome for librarians to conduct inventory updates and stocking of books and other academic materials within the library. The good thing about RFID is that libraries end up being more accountable and lost books turnover is more likely to go down.

Books are delicate and prone to motion injuries especially when using old library technologies of record keeping that are majorly disadvantaged because the pages and covers of books are more likely to be torn especially when librarians go through the book for record keeping. With the introduction of RFID is most likely to increase the lifespan of books within the library, and thus books are more likely to last twice as loner that they would have before.

Justification

The above aims and objectives justify the introduction of RFID technology because this way Knowledge Vault will be able to tremendously reduce costs and book theft cases, this way the institution is more able to save a lot of funds and channel those resources to where they are needed urgently.

Additionally the technology will not only increase efficiency of delivering services within the library but also ensure that the rate at which books become obsolete due to tearing is slowed down and that the shelve life of books is able increase. It is thus in the opinion of the researcher that Knowledge Vault Libraries does not waste time and introduce the RFID services into the institution.

Company Summary

Knowledge Vault library is an organization that has had its operations running for a decade, empowering the local community by providing them with the necessary information to survive in today’s environment.

Libraries play a very big role in the society and Knowledge Vault is a library that is depended upon by many professionals who serve in numerous commercial companies within our town and also students who are every level of education starting from high school to academic scholars who are pursuing their various interests. The library is a non-profit organization that allows all members of the society use their facilities for a small service fee.

The proceeds that are collected from the public are used to maintain the library and pay the staff team which consists of 12 librarians. Other proceeds are obtained from book borrowing and fines which are charged upon individuals who break the library rules. The library was founded upon a humanitarian approach with the main objective being to serve the community and to empower individuals within the community thus making the library not a commercial enterprise.

Some of the library funds come from well wishers within the community and donors and often volunteers are taken in to assist the library run smoothly and efficiently. The library boasts of having among the widest collection of books ranging from business subjects medicine and philosophy thus making it a unique and highly preferred library amongst readers.

The company’s mission has always been to inspire and encourage the society to gain all the necessary knowledge that will help them carry out their duties and become model citizens of the society which they live in. The libraries collection consists of data, digital sources, pictures, slide, microfilms, and maps, making this library quite unique owing to the fact that the library has a lot of different sources of knowledge.

The library has been increasing in size over the last few years and it has become quite a challenge to keep records of all activities that take place in the library given the fact that the library has been using old technology of keeping records, delivering services to the public and all of its operations.

Hence, the Library has been experiencing difficulties in tracking library materials and also delivering services smoothly and efficiently. Issues of insecurity and inventory management inefficiency have also arisen making it quite hard for the library to operate smoothly and the management currently believes that if this issue is not sorted out the library might lose it its most precious items its books.

Additionally, librarians have also been complaining that they have found it quite hard for them to carry out their duties and library users have complained that service delivery is quite slow and most of the time they are dissatisfied because of queuing and waiting for long periods to be served. This is why the library requires the services of the 3M RFID de vice so that it can improve in the process of service delivery, and the consumers who consume the services of the company can therefore acquire better services in the long run.

Market analysis data

Many libraries especially those in the developed countries are embracing RFID technology due to the great advantages that arise from it (Butters, 2006, 170). Although RFID technology is somehow expensive and has been catching on slowly since the early 1990’s, according to ABI, an institute of research, many institutions and businesses around the world inclusive libraries are catching up and implementing this technology.

Their research data suggests that as compared to the old and traditional technologies of tracking devices, RFID is expected to enjoy a compounded annual growth rate of 14% annually as compared to traditional technologies which enjoy a compounded annual growth of 6% (Pro Security Zone 2010).

In financial terms the current market of RFID technology stands at $3.5b but by the year 2014 industry experts expect the business to grow to $7.3b this is hence why companies such as 3M are expected to enjoy commercial benefits out of the favorable market and attractive business industry ( Technology Market Intelligence 2010).

Due to the positive reviews that this technology has a required from the numerous customers who have purchased them more and more institutions ands especially libraries have decided to implement RFID technology.

According to records among the first installations were conducted back in the 1990’s in Singapore, Netherlands and the United States America. Among the first libraries in the world was the Rockefeller University New York and ever since then the universities librarians claim that the installation has increased efficiency and workflow.

Other Universities and public libraries across the world have also decided to follow and consequently acquired and put in place RFID technology in place among the leading countries in adopting this technology is the United States of America where the public has adopted quickly to the technology across all ages.

It is currently estimated that over 30 million FRID tags have been placed in multiple library items across the world with U.S.A having the highest number of tagged items, despite that the University of Hong Kong has the has the highest number of items ( 1.2 million items) that are tagged with RFID technology (Technology Market Intelligence, 2010).

Many users of this technology have argued that the technology has improved their institutions and even made the work of librarians much easier and enabled them to operate with high levels of accuracy. Apart from ensuring that the librarian have smooth working days the level of security within the library has also gone up ensuring that less items belonging to the library are stolen .

The rates of accountability within this institutions have gone up simply because RFID technology has made it possible for the institutions to trace their property and track their ware bouts even at greater distances. Other countries apart from America which have embraced the technology include United Kingdom and members of the European Union. However, the main obstacle to acquiring this technology is costs that are involved with acquiring the technology.

Because most libraries are non commercial/non profit organizations it has become quite hard for these libraries to adopt this technology simply because the technology is quite costly.

It is estimated that a single library that has approximately 100,000 items would have to incur costs of up to € 50,000 for it to tag all its items. This is hence why most libraries have only a small portion of their items tagged using RFID technology and thus the libraries are implementing this technology at a slow rate slowly increasing the number of tagged items over each operation cycle.

Service start up costs

The acquisition of RFID introductory package is not cheap, Knowledge Vault Library will be required not only to acquire the equipment but also pay for annual service costs to 3M, the vendor of the RFID technology. The Library management is expected to spend over € 18,515.77, to have the system put in place and maintained within the first one year.

The acquisition of equipment will cost € 16,927 while the total service and maintenance costs will cost the library a further € 1587.87 (3M 2011). Once the library management clears the payment of this sum to 3M then the vendor will deliver and install the equipment within the library. After installation, the library’s staff will get the chance to get up close with officials from the vending company and be trained on how to handle the machinery and how to use the system.

Item quantity Unit Price € total € Annual maintenance Warranty in months
3M RFID INTRODUCCTORY PACKAGE

Consisting of

  • SELF SERVICE SYSTEM
  • CORRIDOR DETECTION SYSTEM
  • ATAFF WORKSTATION SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE
  • RFID TAGS
1 13,990 13,990 1,399 12
TOTAL

21% VAT ON EQUIPMENT

13% VAT ON SERVICES AND MAINTAINANCE

TOTAL INCLUSIVE VAT

€13,990

€2,937.90

€0

€16,927

€1,399

€0

€188.87

€1,587.87

ADDITIONAL ITEMS
  • 3M ISO RFID BOOK TAGS-PER 1000
1 190 190 0 n/a
  • 3M ISO RFID CD/DVD TAGS PER 1000
1 750 750 0 n/a
  • TAG TEAM CONVERSION SERVICES

On site conversion from bar code to RFID per 1000 items

1 210 210 0 n/a

A table summarizing all the costs that the library will incur to have the RFID machinery installed and employees’ training

Implementation of RFID technology

The library will work hand in hand with 3M over a 3-month period to ensure that once the installation has been properly done, the Library can have a smooth transition from the old bar code system into a new era of RFID technology. Sometimes employees may be reluctant to adapt and embrace new technology and thus the first step will be to alter the organizational culture of the organization and help the employees see the importance of the new technology.

Strategies of handling resistance to change

Many a times change in an organization is met with a lot of resistance by the employees with fear of the unknown; that they may loose control or power (either formal or informal power), sometimes employees imagine if change occurs the organization may become unpredictable, while others fear that change may render them jobless therefore self interests, misapprehension, low tolerance of change and different assessments of the same situation may result rejection of change. Librarians of this library may be no exception to this attitude employees have over change.

The success of the RFID technology highly depends on how the human resource of the organization will embrace the change. Therefore, it is the duty of the leaders to come up, with strategy of making employees accepts the change. Managers of the library should thus use the following strategies to ensure that implementation is successful (Bovey & Hede 200, p. 340).

Education and coaching – Employees consider ambiguity and lack of information and skills that are involved with change as a threat to their existing corporate culture and therefore without the right knowledge that applies to the change they will continue to resist change. Therefore by training and coaching them they will accept the change sooner or later. RFID technology is relatively unknown to the institution and thus the employees should be given lessons on how to tag materials, and even track library materials. When employees are empowered and have the right knowledge on their fingertips they are more likely to make the implementation process highly successfully.

Participation and involvement– when the employees involved in the process of bringing about change then it are most likely true that they will accept change because they believe that they were the ones who triggered the change (Bovey & Hede 200, p. 347).

It is thus the duty of the management to gather library employees together with volunteers and work together by developing training programs that involve the entire group these way employees can identify those individuals who have more understanding of the system and work together to empower each other.

Negotiation and agreement – sometimes majority of the employees resist the change and may deliberately sabotage it. Thus it is important that the management should come together and negotiate with the employees so that they accept change. This may often involve offering certain groups’ incentives tom accept the change (Bovey & Hede 200, 340). The management should come together with and give their reasons for introducing the technology and negotiate with employees to reach agreements that are mutual.

Facilitation and support – If the librarians find change difficult then the management will come up with different avenues such as counseling programs and offer special assistance to employees with an aim of making them accept change.

Facilitation and support will mainly come from 3M who are the vendors of the technology and has the entire that knowledge and as their customers, 3M should support the library throughout the implementation process. The library should thus not hesitate to contact 3M customer support as soon as need arises.

Coercion – When change is critical and considered as a move emergency to stop bleeding within the organization then managers have no choice but to be assertive to make their employees accept change (Bovey & Hede 200, 344). Though sometimes this technique is dangerous and can have effect on the loyalty and motivation of employees. But the management should be prepared to handle any resistance and if it comes to worse then employees of the library may be forced to embrace RFID technology.

Methods that use force to engage employees may not bring out the optimal performance out of them. It is therefore advisable to use good techniques that call for employee involvement without coercion. When employees are involved in the process of bringing about change they in turn appreciate the change and feel obligated to stick by it and make the change succeed.

Appointing of Implementation Leader

The management should appoint a leader to head the implementation the leader should come amongst the employees who spend most time on the library floor this way the employees are more likely to accept the change because it leadership will come from among them. The chosen leader will have the following duties:

Supervising change- Without leadership during change employees can be like a ship without a captain that may end up going off course. It is thus the duty of the leader heading the implementation to act as a manager and ensure that every team member not only plays his/her role but plays it well and to the satisfaction of the organization.

Employees not willing to embrace the technology may often come of as lazy and may even try to sabotage its success and this is why the leader in charge of implementation should act as a supervisor/overseer.

Mobilizing commitment- The team leader heading implementation should ensure that each member of the team on board as far as accepting change is concerned. Without their explicit commitment then some employees may deliberately sabotage the organizations strategy.

The implementation of 3M’s RFID technology will only succeed if every employee together with volunteers are fully on board and accepts that it is very important that the system works smoothly. Therefore a leader should come up with ways of convincing employees to accept and embrace change and gain their explicit acceptance and commitment.

Shaping the vision of the library – The leader should from time to time remind the employees the objectives of the library and what it aims to achieve in order to ensure that the vision and mission of the library remains priority of the library.

Employees sometimes may reject change because they lack or don’t even understand the of the organization vision therefore it becomes the role of the leader to try and shape their vision during the process of change in the organization. It is through meetings and capacity buildings that a leader can communicate with employees and therefore get the chance of shaping their vision in accordance with the overall organizational chance process.

Dedicating Resources

If the library has sufficient reason to believe that the organizational culture is in tandem with the mission and vision of the library as far as the implementation of the RFID technology is concerned then it will be appropriate that the management avails all necessary resources to the disposal of the team leader and the employees who are involved in the implementation process of RFID.

Resources can be put a side to reward employees who have received the technology well this way employees can see that the organization is not taking their efforts for granted.

Control of Strategy

The entire acquisition and implementation of the RFID technology is to be monitored in one year and the full results are expected to seen after at the end of the first year, during this period of implementation the library can initiate a customer satisfaction survey which important data can be gathered and the number of customer dissatisfactions can be monitored from month to month (Bovey & Hede 200, 340).

The RFID technology is expected to improve inventory management and tracking, it is logical to expect the number of lost and misplaced items can be used by the librarians as an indicator of the success of installing RFID technology. Other indicators that can be used include efficiency upon the implementation of RFID technology is expected to reduce long queuing due to the introduction of self-service within the library.

If the expected results do not match the actual outcome it will only mean that the implementation process has failed and maybe the employees have not fully accepted or understood how to use the RFID technology.

At this juncture the management will be required to intervene and re-evaluate the actions of those who were directly involved with the strategy implementation of the RFID technology. The outcome of the management evaluation will be responsible for identifying the weak links and carrying out necessary corrections to bring back implementation back to track.

References

3M, 2011. Bronchures and guides. 3M. Retrieved from http://solutions.3m.co.uk/wps/portal/3M/en_GB/Library_Systems/Library_System/Resources/Brochures_Guides/

Bovey, W. H. & Hede, A., 2001. Resistance to organizational change: the role of defense mechanism. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 16, 7, 534-548.

Butters, A., 2006. Radio Frequency Identification: An Introduction for Library Professionals. Australasian Public Libraries v19.n4, pp.164–174.

Pro Security Zone, 2010. Strong Growth Forecasted For RFID Market. Pro-security Zone. Retrieved from http://www.prosecurityzone.com/News/Education__training_and_professional_services/Books__magazines__journals__analysis_and_reports/Strong_growth_forecasted_for_rfid_market_15915.asp#axzz1OZOhMWl1.

Technology Market Intelligence, 2010. RFID Market to Reach $5.35 Billion This Year. Abiresearch. Retrieved from http://www.abiresearch.com/press/1618-RFID+Market+to+Reach+$5.35+Billion+This+Year