In today's world of global competition and pricing transparency, companies are facing margin pressures unlike ever before. Longstanding customers now routinely review their vendors for price advantage. New competitors enter markets at unprecedented rates. And companies with human resource costs one-tenth of your company's can now compete with you from half a world away. In order to survive, much less thrive, businesses need to reconfigure each step of the value-add process with two primary objectives:
1. Elimination of waste
2. Providing more customer value at lower cost
These mandates apply to all industries equally and are especially pertinent to infrastructure given the massive investment need that exists and the limited public spending available. This explains the recent explosion of the "lean" movement. For good reason, we see "lean" everything- lean manufacturing, lean production, lean construction and even lean start-ups. (Idencia is committed to bringing lean practices to all facets of infrastructure; we have even started a Lean Infrastructure group on LinkedIn.)
The good news is that advances in technology have produced unprecedented productivity improvement opportunities at the same time. Product tracking is one such productivity tool. Usually involving bar codes or RFID tracking devices, product tracking is most often used for inventory control purposes. Started years ago in retail, it is just beginning to reach critical mass in the form of infrastructure asset tracking solutions. Contractors are starting to apply it in tracking construction products on the job site. WIth Idencia, manufacturers can offer precast product tracking by embedding chips in the concrete. Likewise, steel tracking can be managed by affixing tags to the steel products so that they can be tracked from manufacture through end of life.
Manufacturers and contractors using product tracking solutions produce instant ROI because ready information about product status saves time... a LOT of time. The ROI is instant because Software-as-a-Service technology enables the systems to be offered on a subscription basis, completely eliminating capital expenditure. Producing operating cost savings that are greater than the subsription costs, these systems produce an immediate, positive ROI... just from time savings alone.
Consider the time and expense that is saved from a system that provides access to complete records, GPS location, pictures and files on your tablet or phone:
- Time locating inventory in yard
- Calling production floor in response to customer calls for production status
- Time spent on physical inventory counts for bank
- Accounting for inventory between physical counts
- Managing shipping errors
- Negotiating damage issues occuring after delivery
How much do you pay the people searching for this information and how much does the lack of records cost in terms of shipping errors and product replacement costs? As we wrote in Inventory Control, Farewell Frustation, our calculations suggest that inventory management costs can be as much as $100,000 per year for a medium-sized manufacturer. A subscription system can cost as little as one-tenth that cost.
You can determine the ROI available to your company from a product tracking system. Use our ROI Calulator to estimate your costs and then see the savings that can be obtained from subscription. If you would like to learn more about Idencia, click on the image of the Idencia Primer in the right hand column to download a copy.