We recently made the move from self issue via barcode with EM to RFID. We also took the opportunity to change our service model so the analogy is not quite the same as your scenario. In addition we also introduced a returns sorter. The benefits were as follows:
1. Increase in issues through self service (up to 99% - old self service was around 70% at best)
2. Ability to issue A/V via self issue, previously not possible through self service
3. Returns removed from user account immediately and self return at 100%
4. Open access holds
5. All of the above have significantly improved the services available during 24/7 opening
6. Although we had tried self service returns under the EM/barcode system we found we had too many problems with this e.g. holds not being left on trolleys
7. Although in principle self issue via EM/barcodes should have been as simple as with RFID we did not find this to be the case. Students have taken to self issue in greater numbers with less support than before
I would agree with other comments about collection management. I don't think the hand held scanner units do 'what it says on the tin' and this benefit can be overplayed.
From: Discussion List for RFID in Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Simon Hall
Sent: 21 November 2011 12:31
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Case for moving from EM self-service to RFID
At the University of Roehampton we are in the process of building a business case for moving to RFID, I am convinced of the benefits, but it would obviously be a substantial investment. One of the reasons often cited for moving to RFID is to go from a issue desk model of service, to one based on self-service, thus freeing up staff time for redeployment/efficiency savings.
We have already made this move several years ago, based on an EM/barcode system. We have self issue/returns running at about 90% and have already scrapped our issue desk. With this in mind, I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has successful made the case to move from an EM based self-service system to RFID (particularly if you had already changed your service model). I would love to know what arguments you made in favour of RFID, whether you have seen a genuinely improved customer experience over EM or if you have made efficiencies in other areas of your service based on RFID?