Takeaway: Tracking assets is a useful process in all types of industry, but tracking construction assets is especially vital.
How many times have you misplaced you phone or remote control and wished you had some kind of tracking device that could help you locate it right away?
Now just imagine the same frustration, but amplified. Instead of missing the first few minutes of your favorite show or wondering if you’ve missed a text message, you’re losing hours – maybe even days – of productive work. That’s what happens when you lose track of any of the countless moving parts on a construction site.
Luckily, electronic asset tracking can help you keep tabs on everything so the work day can go on smoothly and productively.
What Is Asset Tracking?
Asset tracking is the process that companies use to keep track of their physical assets. This can be done using barcodes, 2D barcodes, or other identification tags such as RFID to identify each asset and subsequently keep track of its user information, maintenance requirements, and physical location.
Simply put, asset tracking is like keeping an inventory of your physical assets, including not only equipment and materials but employees as well.
The Benefits of Electronically Tracking Construction Assets
Asset tracking can be helpful in virtually any industry. But because the construction industry has so many moving parts and deals with high-cost projects, optimizing processes through asset tracking is very beneficial to construction companies.
The term “asset tracking” might lead people to think it’s just about keeping tabs on the physical location of your equipment. Maintenance, however, can also be easily documented using asset tracking software.
By knowing exactly when and how your equipment is being used, you can stay on top of required and preventative maintenance. This will lower your odds of having to deal with a malfunctioning piece of equipment, which can sometimes almost bring the entire workday to a halt.
Equipment malfunction, moreover, doesn’t just result in downtime but can cause harm to an employee. Regularly maintaining equipment will reduce the risks of someone being hurt by a loose machine guard or by machinery abruptly shutting down.
And, of course, staying on top of maintenance schedules will ensure you stay compliant with any relevant regulations (learn the difference between preventative and reactive maintenance).
Tracking your resources will give you a better picture of how materials are being used. Being aware of how much surplus you have at any given time will give you insight into unnecessary resources that you can cut out.
Construction operations need to perform a balancing act when it comes to their stock. It’s important to have backup resources on hand in case a project burns through more material than anticipated. But it’s also important to minimize inventory costs and avoid bleeding money just to keep stuff stored away. Knowing exactly how much you use can help you make smart decisions about how much to have on hand for current projects and help you make accurate cost projections for future ones.
Asset tracking will give you an idea of how long your equipment lasts. This will help you look beyond the sticker price and help you factor in replacement costs. Figuring out how much equipment really costs in the long run makes for smarter purchasing decisions.
Having to check in and check out the equipment they use can help keep employees accountable. It will also make it less likely that someone will lose or leave some piece of equipment behind. If they know they have to scan it back in at the end of the shift, there’s a good chance they’ll keep a closer eye on it.
This kind of accountability might not seem like a big deal on its own, but it can have powerful effects. The added mindfulness and responsibility that comes with equipment tracking build the habits that are at the core of a healthy safety culture. Having a clean and organized workspace, moreover, can save time and can go a long way to reducing the frequency and severity of accidents.
Asset tracking increases productivity by decreasing the amount of time spent looking for equipment, recovering from unexpected malfunctions, and by maximizing time used.
Letting you employees know that you’re properly and regularly inspecting and maintaining the materials and equipment they’re working with is a good way to show them that you care about their safety. This can, in turn, boost morale and improve their productivity as well.
- Rented equipment
Construction sites are full of rented equipment. Not only can asset tracking help you prevent the loss of that equipment, but it can also help you keep track of any issues that arise with the rented equipment. If you were guaranteed that the equipment would hold up for a certain amount of time and your tracking shows that it doesn’t, you may be able to reclaim some of the cost you spent on it and quickly replace it with new equipment.
Essentially, asset tracking holds the rental company accountable, too.
Of course, all of this can be tracked manually. So, why should you do it electronically? One word: accuracy.
When you track things using pen and paper, you run the risk losing that information. If the information is entered and stored into a computer, on the other hand, you can be sure that it’s safe, especially if it’s backed up to cloud service.
Tracking software can also automatically remind you when there maintenance needs to be scheduled, instead of relying on your own memory to make sure it happens (still reluctant? Check out these Top 3 Objections to EHS Software and What They Get Wrong.)
Electronic asset tracking is a useful tool to help you manage equipment and keep things humming along. A construction site will run more efficiently with a process in place to keep track of everything from huge machinery down to safety glasses (learn more about the Benefits of Mobile Data Collection in Condition-Based Asset Management).