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Blog posts tagged with Automated Materials Handling
Apr 17, 2016
One of my clients requested that I put together some case studies that would demonstrate Best Practices for implementing RFID, self-check, and automated materials handling. I was able to put together two excellent examples of how to do it right.
This case study was written based on a document prepared by JCL staff after their RFID implementation. It was their own evaluation of the process so it includes a description of things they did right and what they could have done better. It provides great information on how to plan and manage the implementation and includes useful and impressive outcome metrics.
This case study was written based on telephone interviews with the staff. They describe another excellent process for implementing automated materials handling and then RFID and self-check. Even though I recommend implementing RFID before AMH, this process worked well for them and they are now achieving 90% self-check use systemwide.
Nov 12, 2015
I’ve been involved in several library remodels and building projects lately for public libraries in the 15,000-30,000 square foot range. My job is to help select self-check systems, and to implement RFID and automated materials handling technologies for the purposes of optimizing materials handling workflows. However, optimizing materials handling workflows is really about optimizing services to patrons. Selecting technologies and making recommendations about how to optimize their use is the easy part. The harder part is helping libraries transition from their traditional staff-based circulation workflows to self-service workflows which free up staff to focus on other patron needs without the constraints, and structure, provided by the traditional circulation desk model.
Traditionally, the circulation desk is the first thing you see as you enter the library. The staff at the circulation desk are not generally librarians although I’m pretty sure the public considers everyone at the library a “librarian.” So when the patron enters the library, what they encounter is someone working hard to get through a big pile of library material. There might even be a long line of people waiting to check-out their material. Maybe the staff person looks up when the patron enters, maybe not.
Nov 2, 2014
Since the late 1980’s, libraries have been slowly adopting RFID (radio frequency identification) technology as a supplement to barcodes for library material identification and also as a way to replace legacy EM (electro-magnetic) security technologies (e.g. security strips). RFID provides a single system for efficiently checking in, checking out, and securing library material and because it is based on radiowave technology, it does not require line-of-sight. Unlike barcodes, which must be scanned one a time, multiple RFID-tagged items can be set on an RFID pad and checked in or checked out.
RFID helps staff work faster and more ergonomically than one-at-a-time barcode systems. RFID is also easier for patrons to use at the self-check-out machines. Not only can staff and patrons check-out multiple items at a time, patrons are also less likely to be confused by the self-check-out process (e.g. distinguishing between barcodes and ISBN tags).
Although there are several benefits to using RFID, adoption has been slow because of the cost of implementing RFID systems and also because the technology was lacking key standards that made investing in RFID somewhat risky – until fairly recently.
Jun 3, 2013
If you are going to ALA in Chicago, you might want to take advantage of free consulting from one of the 15-20 consultants that will be providing free consulting sessions during the Consultants Give Back session.
Find the consultant who can help you at /. If you find someone with the right skills for your project, contact them and make an appointment ahead of time. There are some drop-in options but most of the consultants require appointments.
Mar 10, 2012
Someone recently asked me for suggestions to ask of other libraries when doing your due diligence on an AMH vendor. I was happy to get that question because too often I think that libraries don't do an adequate job of digging into the experiences of other libraries with vendors. And even when they do, oftentimes the person providing the reference seems to have some incentive to paint a pretty picture rather than giving you the harsh truth. I guess if they tell you about something that hasn't gone well, it suggests they did something wrong.....
I try my best to be as honest as I can be about my assessments of vendors and libraries too! So, if you ask me, you will get an honest answer. I urge libraries to do the same. No vendor is perfect and no procurement, implementation, migration is either. Don't be shy about sharing what hasn't worked well or was HAS worked well. As my therapist used to say....it's all just information.
Anyway, here's some questions that I recommend you ask about a libraries work with an AMH vendor:
Mar 2, 2011
Like all things technology, your equipment will be ready for an upgrade within five years — not because it is falling apart (especially in the case of 3M equipment) — but because even better products will be available. Rather than getting stuck with the old model, now you can simply switch the latest greatest thing after a few years and save yourself some cash.
Aug 31, 2009
Mar 16, 2009
Attached is the result of a study I did for King County Library System comparing materials handling operations at two very similar libraries: one with automated self check-in and library sorter, and the other using manual materials handling. The report (PDF) demonstrates significant savings at the library with automated check-in. It's short and sweet. Give it a read!