Cost-effectively Implementing RFID Tracking for Schools
Educational institutions have to be hyper-aware of cost - not only money but time. While implementing an RFID system can save tremendous amounts of time, there are so many cost benefits as well. Here are some steps to help cost-effectively implement RFID tracking for schools.
- Determine the specific needs: Identify the specific use case for the RFID technology, such as tracking valuable assets throughout the school, and gather important information about their usage when determining when to purchase new assets. This will help determine the type and amount of equipment and software needed.
- Evaluate existing technology: Check if the school has the necessary hardware and software, such as RFID readers, antennae, and software management platforms. If so, determine if they can be repurposed for the new use case.
- Seek vendor partnerships: Consider partnering with RFID vendors to obtain equipment and software at a discounted rate or to negotiate a package deal for multiple schools. Look for vendors who have experience working with schools as their experiences are invaluable.
- Utilize open-source software: Open-source software can be a cost-effective alternative to commercial software. Evaluate if any open-source software solutions meet the school's needs and can be customized.
- Phased implementation: Implement RFID tracking in stages, starting with a minor pilot program, to ensure the technology works as intended and to make any necessary adjustments before expanding to the entire school.
- Grants: There are a number of organizations and government agencies that provide grants for education technology initiatives, including RFID implementation. Research and apply for grants that align with your school's needs and goals.
- Private Investment: Private companies and venture capitalists may be interested in investing in educational technology initiatives, including RFID systems, that they see as a potential return on investment.
- Fundraising: Schools can organize fundraising events, like auctions or galas, to raise money for the implementation of RFID systems. Community members and local businesses may be willing to support the initiative.
- School Budgets: Schools can allocate a portion of their budgets to the implementation of RFID systems. This may involve reallocating funds from other areas or seeking additional funding through the school district or local government.
- Loans: Schools may be able to secure loans from banks or other financial institutions to fund the implementation of RFID systems.
- Technology: It's important to thoroughly research the technology options available from different vendors and evaluate their features, capabilities, and compatibility with your school's needs and infrastructure. It's important that the technology selected aligns with the overall objective of the application.
- Cost: Compare the cost of RFID systems from different vendors, including the cost of hardware, software, installation, and ongoing maintenance and support. Be sure to consider any hidden costs or fees, such as service agreements, training, and data management.
- Scalability: Consider whether the RFID system is scalable and can accommodate the changing needs of the school as it grows and evolves.
- Support and Maintenance: Evaluate the level of support and maintenance provided by each vendor, including the availability of on-site technicians, online resources, and customer service.
- Integration: Consider how the RFID system will integrate with other technology systems in use at the school, such as student information systems, security systems, and library systems. There are integrators available who specialize in solutions for schools. Metalcraft will work with you to determine whether that level of integration is needed and, if it is, point you in the direction of one of our valued partners.
Once you've evaluated the options, you can negotiate favorable terms with the vendor of your choice. To negotiate favorable terms, consider the following:
- Volume Discounts: If the school plans to purchase multiple RFID systems, consider negotiating volume discounts from the vendor.
- Payment Terms: Consider negotiating flexible payment terms, such as the option to make smaller payments over time, rather than paying the full amount upfront.
- Maintenance and Support: Negotiate favorable terms for ongoing maintenance and support, including the cost of service agreements, training, and data management.
- Upgrade Options: Consider negotiating terms for upgrades and enhancements to the RFID system, including the cost of new hardware, software, and services.
- Termination Clause: Make sure to include a termination clause in the contract that allows the school to terminate the agreement if the vendor fails to meet the agreed-upon terms and conditions.
By considering these factors and negotiating favorable terms with the vendor, schools can ensure that they are getting the best possible value for their investment in an RFID system.
If you would like to learn more about how to implement an RFID system into your school, please contact us at email@example.com.
About the Author: Julia Deets
Julia Deets joined Metalcraft in 1999 as the Marketing/New Product Director. Julia has held numerous roles during her career with Metalcraft, all related to marketing and customer support. Her current position is as the VP of Marketing and Customer Experience. She has both an undergrad and a Master's degree in Organizational Communications from Northwest Missouri State University and the University of Northern Iowa, respectively.