I've been participating in an interesting thread about self-check-out and someone asked me to state some Best Practices. So, here's one rendition of what I believe to be Best Practices for implementing self-service check-out. It's an evolving list.
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Self Service Technologies
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.
Assisted the Library in evaluating opportunities for implementing RFID and self-service technologies. Engagement includes developing procurement and implementation strategy and facilitating procurement process from RFP development to contract negotiation. Originally planned to include automated materials handling as part of the procurement but these plans were delayed due to plans related to library remodel and/or new building.
The Library is currently using Innovative Interface's Express Lane for self-check and will be comparing the benefits of adding RFID to their existing Express Lane systems versus moving to self-check systems provided by the RFID vendor.
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.