“I have nine thousand six hundred pairs of sheets and blankets, with two thousand four hundred eider-down quilts. I have ten thousand knives and forks, and the same quantity of dessert spoons. I have six hundred servants. I have six palatial establishments, besides two livery stables, a tea garden and a private house.”
As the above words by the protagonist Bluntschli in the play Arms and the Man by G.B. Shaw shows, even 19th Century hoteliers had enough stuff to warrant a complex inventory management system. For medium-to-large players in the hospitality industry – be it hotels, motels, or resorts – managing an inventory of a thousand different types of items across various branches is not an easy task.
While traditional hotel management practices work quite well, seasonal and other fluctuations often lead to an inaccurate estimated of asset use. This in turn leads to over- or under-allocation of inventory items. In an extremely competitive market, RFID-based inventory management services can help cut costs and improve the performance of hotels, restaurants, resorts and other establishments. Here are five key ways in which RFID technology is helping the hospitality industry:
Role of RFID in Hospitality:
1) Speedy and Accurate Inventory Management:
RFID, a short form of Radio Frequency Identification, uses radio waves to identify tagged objects. Every object in the inventory is tagged with a unique code, and this makes it easy for the tag reader to activate a magnetic field and locate the object. With a wireless RFID, hotel employees can automatically and almost instantly identify, track, record and manage information relating to a vast number of objects.
This also gives a better overview of asset utilization patterns across the organization, helps locate any object quickly, and warns if any specific object is taken out of the premises without proper procedure. It is also possible to issue automatic alerts to the user of the object using the RFID system.
2) Intelligent Room Management:
Using key cards and RFID-enabled rooms, hotel managers get the data of all the vacant and occupied rooms across the world automatically, and almost in real time. Also, as the information on when the rooms will be vacated and what days they are booked for is available in real time, automated or online bookings become a lot easier. This streamlines and automates a very large portion of the room booking management process.
3) Linen and Laundry Management:
Most hotels, motels and other establishments have to deal with a very large number of blankets, napkins, towels, bed sheets, cushion covers and other linen. Loss due to theft, misplacement or other reasons is a regular risk for most establishments, and it is difficult to track such a large number of items.
But, using washable RFID tags, the hospitality industry can keep a lot better track of linen inventory. This makes it easy to track, retrieve and replace linen all over the hotel, and across different branches. The same system can also be extremely useful in tracking uniforms of a large staff. But that’s not all: an RFID-based inventory management system also helps control pricing and automate task scheduling.
4) Vehicle Management:
Many hospitality establishments have large fleets of vehicles, or have to deal with the parking, washing and management of large number of vehicles belonging to clients. Or you may hire a fleet of vehicles during events or periods or high activity. Speeding up the processing of all the vehicles while maintaining security is difficult.
By placing a small RFID tag on the cars, you can automatically identify and log the cars and other vehicles that enter the parking, premises or any other designated area. The system can be integrated with other software and you can trigger the gate to open automatically after identifying the vehicle. This also helps maintain an entry-exit log for security purposes.
5) Tracking Personnel:
Apart from these uses, RFID is also used to track personnel and even customers – the former tracked for attendance and other purposes, while the latter tracked to provide a very high level of service automatically. The tags help personnel and machines recognize guest, understand their preferences and provide top-notch and personalized services and experiences instantly.
Interested in finding out how RFID-based and other inventory & asset solutions can help your organization?