The State of the Art in Construction Asset Management: RFID
Management of materials is very necessary for the smoothly running any construction project. The most common problems faced by the construction companies are supply delays, material shortages, wastage and lack of storage space. Without proper planning and order, there can be many errors in the projects. RFID (Radio-frequency Identification) can help construction companies in overcoming the issues and frustrations that occur when managing and tracking the materials.
Issues from Improper Asset Tracking
In addition to financial concerns, a plethora of other issues arise when construcions job sites don’t maintain solid records of their assets. The following issues could easily be rectified with a robust asset tracking system in place at these constructions companies:
- Without software to track and manage equipments, Enterprises are only left with the option of manually recording and handling inventory using spreadsheets or even regular text documents. Unfortunately, manual asset tracking results in a decrease in both productivity and efficiency across the entire establishment. For example, manually entering and tracking assets uses up lots of time, as does doing audits by hand instead of automating them with asset software. Such time could be saved and put to better use in advancing the construction’s goals and needs if employees were freed up from manual asset management.
- As previously mentioned, not tracking assets with a flexible management system often results in items going missing, or being lost entirely. Even with a good emergency or backup fund in place, many Enterprises don’t have enough money to cover replacements for all their missing assets (especially when those numbers reach as high as $250,000 per job sites).
- Both decreased productivity and cost increases can combine to create the additional issue of operational setbacks. For example, any error in manual tracking can lead to confusion about who last touched or used a particular asset, which can then lead to the asset going missing entirely. Enterprises must then figure out how to make do without that asset until it’s replaced (if it ever is).
- One of the biggest issues which arises for Rental companies without reliable asset management technology is a lack of accountability. Without asset tracking software that can easily be updated and accessed across the entire company’s leadership and staff, how are any of them to know who was last in charge of or touched each asset?
Advantages of RFID Technology for Asset Tracking
The traditional methods like paper-based tracking used for tracking materials have lots of problems. The RFID technology helps in overcoming these problems that traditional methods have. There are multiple components in an RFID based tracking system.
A basic RFID based tracking system contains tags and readers. The tags are attached to the physical materials to be tracked, and the reader communicates the data from the tags. The tags become active only in the presence of the readers. However, active tags are also available, which are active all the time, because they have a built-in power supply. The active is little costly but they also have better readability than the passive tags as they are active all the times.
Using radio frequency, the RFID reader communicates data to and from the RFID tags. The data is then shared with a software system, where it is processed and necessary business decisions can be taken. The RFID tags are placed on the stack of the metal roof panels. The RFID tracking system gives the accurate counts of the panels in the stack. The system is a great way to check the inventory and monitor quantities.
We can also track the location of the panels in a warehouse storage space. In case of multiple storage sites, accessing the materials becomes easy as typing in the information about the item reveal the exact location of the item because it was scanned and keyed in. A different approach will be using different readers attached to different locations.
Systematic analysis of the inventory would also reveal the requirement of the inventory before the construction project starts. The required items can be pre-ordered so the project can start on time, and not be interrupted by having to order the materials in the middle of the project.
SmartX HUB RFID tracking system provides better projects in construction
SmartX HUB RFID-enabled software is “compartmenting” which enables the tracking and managing of an entire data center system asset such multi-rack level enterprise switching system or server blade system as a whole & the individual racked components of that entire system.
The system quickly and accurately accounts for checked out equipment by not only reading all the tagged equipment placed on the checkout counter, but also allowing for additional details to be provided at the time of checking out. Additional details could include project and experiment related information. Check-in process is similarly automated.
The SmartXHUB IT Asset Tracking solution:
- An RFID Check-out/in station that allows for self-checkout of RFID tagged assets. Multiple assets can be checked out at the same time.
- Strengthen control over its equipments in the field
- Update job-sites asset inventories quickly and automatically
- Reduce the time and cost of tracking and reconciling Assets inventories
- A decrease in material related issues like delay and over-ordering that increases the cost of the project
- Emails can be sent to the employee with details on what was checked in or out.
- Customizable and actionable reports available.
- Operations can be combined with door monitoring to ensure only checked out equipment is removed through the doors or gates
The Benefits of Smart Software-enabled Business Solutions for IT Asset Management
With the help of RFID, one can improve the predictability of the project estimates. The RFID system can definitely help in the kind of project where the system has been used in one project and then a project of similar scope and size is acquired later. The data acquired from the previous project can be used to determine the material requirement of the new project. This analytics can save a considerable amount of the time and keep the costs down for construction companies.
RFID can be used to separate different type of materials like bulk materials, engineering materials, and prefabricated materials according to the requirements.
- With a SmartX HUB Mobile RFID reader in hand, an auditor and/or other authorized staff can find a specific set of assets which are reported as missing from previous audits or counts. The reader will ignore all other tags.
- The solution includes various asset management features including: associating photographs to assets, defining locations (and sublocations down to any level) for an asset, as well as a transfer transaction to assist with tracking assets as they move from one location to another.
- Assets can be tracked with great read speed (up to 400 items identified per second) when moved in both directions when automated readers are mounted in facilities exit or entry doors.
- A more effective trail of asset history, including asset movement between counts, leads to easier reconciliation of audit counts and provides greater asset visibility. This increased visibility leads to improved asset utilization.
Overall, RFID can be used how materials are tracked and managed in the construction industry. As more people know about the benefits associated with implementing RFID technology to track the materials, its adoption will increase considerably. When companies become cost-effective, they can provide better services to customers effectively.