Executive Briefings

USC Tracks Dorm, Apartment Furniture with RFID Technology

The University of Southern California housing office knew its housing facilities, on and off campus, had upwards of 60,000 pieces of furniture and appliances. But until the student housing office deployed a radio frequency identification system, tracking which items were at what locations, as well as which were broken, missing or due for replacement, required exhaustive manual inventories. Those inventory counts, typically conducted during summers, required the hiring of temporary workers and many hours of labor to catalog what was where.

Thanks to an RFID system provided by Virginia technology company Simply RFID, however, the school now knows where its inventory is located, and has been able to dispel some myths as well, says Leo R. Boese, the special projects manager of USC's housing office. One prominent myth claimed that furniture was frequently moving and was often not where it was supposed to be. By using handheld RFID readers, employees were able to determine that furniture did not move as often as the school had thought, and that when it did move, it was still in the vicinity of its intended location. That, along with other findings, has made it easier for the school to order new furniture when necessary, as well as identify which items need repair. What's more, it can now avoid over-ordering due to furniture ending up missing.

USC has approximately 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled, many of whom live in dorms, suites and apartments. All facilities are furnished with chairs, desks and beds, while the apartments also include refrigerators, and other appliances and furniture. Until recently, the housing office staff went through each room or unit once a year or semester, counting and identifying every piece of furniture, and writing down what was missing or required repair or maintenance.

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Thanks to an RFID system provided by Virginia technology company Simply RFID, however, the school now knows where its inventory is located, and has been able to dispel some myths as well, says Leo R. Boese, the special projects manager of USC's housing office. One prominent myth claimed that furniture was frequently moving and was often not where it was supposed to be. By using handheld RFID readers, employees were able to determine that furniture did not move as often as the school had thought, and that when it did move, it was still in the vicinity of its intended location. That, along with other findings, has made it easier for the school to order new furniture when necessary, as well as identify which items need repair. What's more, it can now avoid over-ordering due to furniture ending up missing.

USC has approximately 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled, many of whom live in dorms, suites and apartments. All facilities are furnished with chairs, desks and beds, while the apartments also include refrigerators, and other appliances and furniture. Until recently, the housing office staff went through each room or unit once a year or semester, counting and identifying every piece of furniture, and writing down what was missing or required repair or maintenance.

Read Full Article