Always know the status and location of your construction materials.
7. Actively flag risk
Start putting automated rules in place that actively monitor inventory levels taking into account re-order thresholds and delivery times. Set flags, triggers and automate notifications around important events and dates on the critical path so you can action deviations appropriately. This is especially important when it comes to long-lead items.
8. Make sure all relevant documentation is available to the teams
Once your materials tracking system is actively being used, start adding and attaching relevant material documentation for each item – anything from manuals, to inspection documents, certifications, instructions, warranty forms documents, dockets, etc. Record preservation history to maintain warranty entitlements. Ideally, you also want to be able to add photos which can provide evidence of the condition of materials at the time of transaction. By maintaining all of the above in your system, the appropriate teams will always have the relevant information in a single location. Together with the audit trail, this provides all the data you need to manage the lifecycle of materials.
9. Digitise any paper process you have in place
Save more time and prevent human input errors by further digitising your documentation. Think about transfer requests, inspection forms, over/short/damage reports, etc. Actions that need to be taken on materials must be registered through the system and users need to be notified of any documentation they are required to fill out. In addition, you want your materials tracking system to empower field workers with inspection forms and checklists that can be filled out digitally using mobile devices.
10. Consider using IoT for more expensive parts and automated tracking
Once you have followed steps 1-9 and you’re in full control and track your materials through all the steps in the supply chain, you can start thinking about advanced IoT solutions such as RFID, Bluetooth, LoRaWan or GPS. These involve extensive testing and can require a significant investment (time and money) to implement. It is essential that you understand the benefits and limitations of all the different options. Our industry is loaded with items that can cause interference with radio wave signals (metal, concrete, liquids, etc.), which can impact reliability. Moreover, in the mining, oil and gas industry remote or underground locations can make the implementation of certain technology challenging. As such, it is crucial that you have a system in place that you know you can rely on. You should always have a fail-safe fall back scenario, being your barcoded items.