There is a lot written about technology and the role it will play in improving the productivity of the construction process. But how will technology improve the efficiency of the construction product supply chain?
This is the first in a series of posts dedicated to this topic and it draws from our recently published vision statement entitled: "The Infrastructure Supply Chain Platform". We start with a dive into how systems integration will help manufacturers realize improved productivity from systems they already have in place.
The infrastructure product manufacturing industry is highly fragmented and technology adoption has been incremental, applying individual solutions for different segments of company operations. We categorize the solutions into four basic software system sets:
- Building Information Modeling (BIM)
- Production & Scheduling
- Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) and Construction Platforms
Some of these solutions extend from their core into other segments but there is not one solution that serves all of the needs.
Nor should there be. With few exceptions, the software industry has moved away from targeting universal needs (with generally mediocre solutions) to providing very good solutions for specific problems. This makes for better software but leaves the user managing several systems.
As a data collection system, Idencia is well-positioned to stitch the various software systems together with real-time product information. So, our first priority is to evolve into a Systems Platform that collects internal data and integrates with the existing data management systems used by manufacturers:
What will the data sharing enable? The possibilities are endless but here are a few to consider:
Inventory counts (as we know them) are eliminated.
Precast and prestressed concrete manufacturers produce many products that are required to sit in the yard to cure, typically for a month or more. These yards can be very large (we know several with 40 acres). It is not hard to imagine that conducting physical inventory counts every quarter is arduous... and expensive.
We've learned from manufacturers that this can cost as much as $25,000 in consumed time and lost opportunity. After the counts are taken, all of the information is manually entered into the company's ERP system. What if they could scan tags instead of counting inventory (reducing the number of people and amount of time required while improving accuracy) and have that information automatically uploaded to the ERP system.
Idencia is currently working with industry partners to develop and test such a system.
All collected data can be automatically coordinated.
Idencia is used to collect data during manufacturing with mobile devices and fixed readers that sync to the customer's cloud-hosted account. Other systems are used to collect different forms of data separately. What if all data collection could be coordinated?
Idencia is partnering with a major manufacturer of testing equipment to coordinate the operation of its cylinder compression machines and collect the test results in the Idencia repository. With this, all QC inspections and testing results can be found in one place.
All data hosted in one place for the entire supply chain.
BIM is now the standard design protocol. One of the reasons for this is that design features are replaced with 'as-built' data during the construction process. Upon completion, the project owner has a digital twin of the completed project that is enormously useful in managing maintenance. By integrating the BIM model with the Idencia platform, 'as-manufactured' product data can be automatically included as well to further enrich the digital twin profile.
We call our platform Connected Concrete™. It is centered in data collection through RFID product tracking and is built to integrate with both internal and external systems. In our next post we will review the productivity advantages of connecting directly to customer systems.
If you would like to learn more, please click below to start a dialog or read our vision for an infrastructure supply chain platform.
Our mission at Idencia is to elevate the productivity of infrastructure product manufacturers. We offer RFID tracking solutions that improve productivity and offer value throughout the value chain. As a cloud-hosted product tracking system that is seamless between manufacturers, contractors and asset managers, Idencia adds information value to all, eliminates redundancy and saves time.