What is RFID you ask? RFID, a distant memory that was to change the world of Retail, is an acronym for Radio Frequency Identification. It is essentially a small (and cheap), tracker that can be added to items allowing for them to be quickly processed and scanned, thus reducing the need for manual counting or number crunching.
Coming in two forms, “passive” or “active”, RFID was seen as a breakthrough to the retail industry.
Instead of having to conduct a time consuming and somewhat unreliable stock check when items entered a warehouse, one scanner would be able to detect every item that was tagged and tell you instantly how many there were.
Likewise, and more exciting, shops would be able to add tags to every item on their shelves and in theory, customers would be able to walk straight out of the store with their full baskets and would simply have their card charged for items taken. This really was the stuff of Science-Fiction.
In the mid to late ought’s there were whispers around the European Union that RFID was to welcome a continent-wide roll out. With this, there was “money in them there hills” for anyone who studied this technology and became an expert in this area.
From here, many colleges and Universities started introducing this to their curriculums. Even I was presented with hours’ worth of slides and lectures on the topic within my Business Intelligence module.
We were on our way to make literally all the money and take the retail industry by storm.
Unfortunately, something happened in the late 2000’s called a Global Recession. Through this, retail hit somewhat of a wall.
Consumers were forced to tighten their spending and priorities changed not only for the customer but the companies as well.
So, as the dust has settled and the market has picked back up a decade later, what has happened to all those students who became experts in the area of RFID? Well, I went the way of Recruitment, and many of my alumni moved their careers toward accountancy and consulting.
Not only has our aspirations toward being millionaires in the RFID world died out, but the RFID technology has also started to become antiquated and a thing of the past.
However, I do believe the teachings on this space can be highly transferable to a company who are looking for innovative ways to curb costs and bring their overheads down.
It is no secret that Dublin is seeing a War on Talent and there is becoming a larger and larger gulf between open positions and the number of people leaving 3rd level education. With that is mind, managers must be open to the idea of creativity when choosing the right candidate for their roles.
Not only this, retailers must keep a competitive advantage as they are faced with a changing retail landscape. In the digital age, it has already become more common for customers to buy their goods through a website than off a clothes hanger. Boxes with postage stamps are more prevalent than shopping bags. In order to stay afloat, retailers must start investing again in technology.
This is where “RFID experts” can come into play. In order to gather business requirements, quickly translate this into technical “jargon” and revert to the development team. There needs to be someone who understands the needs of retail companies, their frustrations and the speediness required to stay ahead of their competition.
RFID students know this, they studied this. During a very small period over a decade ago, there was thousands of Irish people who were taught the intricacies of Retail innovation and they were never given the opportunity to utilise this skill.
As formally educated and experienced Technical Business Analysts who are active in the market are getting both rarer and, most importantly, more expensive, retail companies must now look down a variety of avenues to fill their roles. Here is one such solution.
I have begun the process of collating which colleges taught RFID and when. Through this, we can tap into this talent and start winning this war on talent.
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Author: Rob Griffin
Rob has more than 5 years’ experience recruiting in the technical space, with successful stints in both Canada and the UK. Now back in the Big Smoke, Rob has joined the TalentHub team. He works with a portfolio of both ‘bricks and mortar’ and ‘pure-play’ businesses who are looking to increase their productivity through the acquisition of high performing Tech talent.