The emergence of new technologies is changing the face of asset management in construction – and further adoption is crucial for increased productivity.
Traditional methods of asset tracking are being gradually overhauled, with paper ledgers and Excel spreadsheets making way for software that provides a far more in-depth record of where assets are, how they’re being used and when they need maintenance. In short, interconnectivity and automation are being dramatically improved.
For a part of the industry that has often leaked money, the movement towards technological solutions is a welcome one. Millions of dollars each year are written off in lost or stolen tools and equipment – a problem that can be radically minimised by the adoption of asset-tracking software.
Utilising this technology can also address the problem of productivity in construction, where a percentage of the working day is lost to workers simply looking for tools and equipment that have gone missing, as well as tracking the whereabouts and performance of heavy machinery.
How technology can help
As most asset-tracking systems use GPS tags and QR codes connected to software on mobile and desktop devices, you have full visibility of where your assets are – whether in transit, in storage or at a particular job site.
It’s clear that in construction this kind of visibility is vital for being able to determine where an asset is at any given time, while alleviating any problems of forgetting where equipment has been dropped. This can be especially true in remote areas, on sites spread over vast areas, and where tools and equipment are being used concurrently across a range of sites.
Having access via a device to data about your assets across multiple job sites means being able to manage them remotely rather than having to visit numerous sites to inspect them manually.
There is also the not-insignificant matter of recovering lost or stolen assets. Across the world, it’s estimated that around $1 billion of equipment is stolen each year, while less than 25 per cent of this equipment is ever recovered.
These are holes that could, and should, be plugged.
Tech allows you to plan ahead
There is a wealth of tech companies now offering asset-tracking software for the construction industry, with each system providing similar levels of data and information. Alongside location services, these systems will often give you an up-to-the-minute inventory of maintenance needs – again, without any need for manual inspection.
This is something that offers another advantage for construction, where schedules can be made for fixing or updating equipment in advance and thereby providing a contingency for the removal of certain assets from a site at a particular time.
An additional key benefit: technology allows for access to asset-tracking software being spread throughout your team, giving each member essential information on location, maintenance, performance and so on. This means that the data collected from asset-trackers doesn’t need to be filtered through a centralised system: team members could potentially be given individual responsibility for certain assets.
It’s encouraging to see more and more companies adopt asset-tracking software. As the technology improves even more and is taken up right across the industry, I have no doubt we’ll see further increases in both productivity and money saved.