RFIDs for Construction Inventory Management
Last Monday it was announced that concrete precast manufacturer, Armtec, based out of Woodbridge, Ontario, is installing RFID chips into their precast pieces being used in a new subway extension project. The RFID chips can also be used for maintenance purposes and validating company quality control years after the pieces are installed.
When evaluating the benefits of switching to an RFID inventory management system the needs of an organization need be looked at on a case by case basis as production value and benchmarks can vary drastically by industry.
RFID inventory tracking systems can provide the following benefits for manufacturers:
- Accelerate the scan processes
- Extend the scan process
- Improve Data Management
- Track Assets
- Reduce backend interactions
- Unify labelling
RFID labelling allows for different kinds of information to be stored across the same type of label, the labels can be recycled, or in the Armtec case the labels would be part of an open system and remain with the products. By implementing RFID tagging for each piece of material each tag can be used as a data management point, whereby information can be stored on the tag itself as well as used to completely track a piece of inventory through a plant floor and grasp the full production value and net realizable value of all items within the manufacturing process.
Benefits achieved from improved planning and being able to know where all resources and inventory are within the production and storage process, will help Armtec reduce loss time in item search, estimations made in planning and from overall uncertainty. The production process will be optimized and the enhanced data capture will allow management to analyse the production data to manage the manufacturing cycle and look for new insights.
Armtec will be able to monitor and document each individual piece through the production process, storing and sharing this information with customers in order to maximise maintenance requirements.
The risks and costs possibly associated with this type of endeavour would include the capital costs in IT infrastructure required for designing and implementing the required infrastructure, the purchase and cost of calibrating equipment for RFID chip implementation, attachment and retrieval. After costs the largest hurdle for adoption of this new technology is the training and uptake by the staff.