Guest Column | August 9, 2010

Guest Series Part 2: RFID-Based Materials Management - A Game Of "What If"

By Jon Chesser and Vincent Hsieh, Atlas RFID Solutions

Every day, I visit industrial construction jobsites and see the same confused laborer with a hardhat frantically walking around for hours looking for a specific piece of material in a laydown yard. Let's call him Joe.

Why do I see Joe at every jobsite? I see Joe because, for years, materials management in storage and laydown yards has been relinquished to craft control laborers using manual data collection methods. And no matter how effective a manual system may seem, because the recording of material movement is not automated, data becomes obsolete very quickly. To make matters worse, unique material identification numbers are often hand-written, painted, or etched onto material and can become faded, smeared, removed, or hidden by other materials or elements like grass, dirt, or snow. Thus, manual tracking of pre-engineered components leads to increased instances of components that are "not immediately found," which leads to higher costs and decreased productivity.

If you missed Part 1 of this series you can read it here.