At the Smart Cities Connect conference in Denver last week there was discussion about how to make the most productive use of the enormous amounts of data that will be connected as cities implement smart city initiatives. Dell EMC's Chief Technology Officer, Rob Silverberg, said that cities should consider creating a singular data platform for collecting all data rather than creating information silos that will ultimately need to share data. He suggested a "system of systems" strategy for creating a holistic smart transportation system rather than a series of individual initiatives... such as smart parking, smart lighting, etc.
This strategy is not unique to smart cities. With data collection and analysis becoming central to improved productivity, data centralization is critical to most industries these days. This includes the manufacturers that provide cities with their infrastructure.
Most concrete manufacturers have up to four silos of information:
- BIM (Building Information Management)
- ERP (Enterprise Resource Management)
Some of these integrate with others (some ERP systems will include or integrate with scheduling and production) but mostly they are independent and retain data separately. These silos cost time and money:
How much is lost when 48 pieces of the 50 scheduled for the day are produced but the remaining 2 are not produced the next day because the scheduling system was not updated?
How much does it cost to perform manual inventory counts quarterly to update the ERP system because there is not automatic inventory reconciliation available? (Hint: We had one customer estimate $25,000.)
And this is only the first dimension of lost productivity from data silos. The second dimension... integration with vendors and customers... may hold more promise for improvement with a "system of systems" data platform:
How much more value would be created for the manufacturer's customer if all of the "as-manufactured" data for the product is ported back into the BIM model that they will use to maintain and manage the project after completion?
How much could the cost of holding a customer's inventory be reduced if the manufacturer has access to construction schedules in real time?
Put another way, how much does it cost to hold that piece in your yard for a year? (Every one of our customers has this problem.)
How much could the manufacturer save in inventory costs if its vendors are able to provide materials on a just-in-time basis?
As you can see from the graphic above, our strategy is to solve this data silo problem for our customers. We see this as our enhanced version of a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) for infrastructure manufacturers. MES systems... defined as "systems used in manufacturing to track and document the transformation of raw materials to finished goods"... are generating traction in other industries. With $2.7 trillion of global infrastructure spending expected in 2019, the productivity improvement from data collection and centralization in infrastructure manufacturing is likely to exceed most other industries.
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. 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.