Guest Column | July 15, 2010

RFID-Based Materials Management In Construction

RFID-Based Materials Management - Supply Side Economics

By Jon Chesser and Vincent Hsieh, Atlas RFID Solutions

Tracking and monitoring the location of construction assets on a jobsite is vitally important to project executives, owners, contractors, and suppliers. Yet this activity is a commonly overlooked aspect of field data acquisition. Timely and precise information about the status of critical assets such as pre-engineered components, equipment, tools, and labor resources allow contractors to bid more competitively on projects, and are directly related to the successful and profitable completion of a project.

Part 1: RFID-Based Materials Management - An Overview
Current practices require an enormous amount of human labor to constantly track occurrences of material relocation when there is an unexpected and unrecorded movement of these components from their original storage location. These site-tracking practices are inefficient, time consuming, expensive, and error-prone, leading to costly delays, decreased work quality, and budget overages.

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

Part 3: RFID-Based Materials Management - Supply Side Economics
Every EPC firm or owner I speak with tells me the same thing: "The supplier is the best person to attach the RFID tag to the pre-engineered component before it arrives at the site." Every supplier I speak with asks the same questions: "How hard will it be for my employees to learn to attach the RFID tags and how long will it take?"