We are at a crossroads that will change the way construction is managed, and construction contractors will benefit in a big way from this.
In order to respond with limited resources to the $3.6 trillion US infrastructure investment need by 2020, project owners will require that the infrastructure value chain reorganize itself to produce unprecedented levels of efficiency. This will mean that contractors and their manufacturers will need to work much more closely than in the past, opening the window to better supply chain visibility and much greater productivity for the contractor as a result.
As we wrote in The 3 Secrets of Construction Leaders, this will involve a convergence of new management thinking and the adoption of information technology. Many industry leaders such as Clark-Pacific and Skanska, are engaged in lean manufacturing practices that improve productivity by establishing close working ties between supplier and customer.
But the real leap will occur when contractors and manufacturers converge technologically through product tracking. RFID tracking solutions are starting to get traction for inventory tracking on construction sites and manufacturers are using systems for inventory control, but the magic will happen when manufacturers, contractors and project owners use the same system. (Idencia enables this by the way... are you surprised?)
Consider the productivity available from using a single network:
You can go on-line to see the manufacturing status (in real time) of products scheduled to be delivered in the next month. Fewer meetings; no more voice mails and returned calls.
When the manufacturer makes deliveries, your people can instantly identify each piece on the truck to ensure the proper pieces have been delivered at the proper time. (Of course, you probably will not find errors because the manufacturer did this prior to leaving the facility!)
The manufacturer delivers products tagged with serial numbers that, when scanned, provide a complete manufacturing and QC history.
With a click, your people can instantly locate the specific product required for a construction sequence on a Google map of the laydown yard.
You offer your client the means for recording inspection and maintenance records along with the manufacturing and construction records created for each project. You've just saved your client thousands upon thousands of dollars in record-keeping costs over the life of each project.
The Idencia vision is that "product tracking for manufacturing" converges with "product tracking for construction" to create infrastructure product tracking, one seamless system starting at the manufacturer and running through the project owner. With infrastructure asset tracking solutions of this sort boundaries in the value chain will blur, creating much closer working relationships and resulting in finished products that are produced and managed much more efficiently than ever before. We call this lean infrastructure.
If you would like to learn more about Idencia, we've just updated our Idencia for Contractors ebook with a tutorial (including access to a web demo and video) and an ROI calculator. The Basic Edition provides three seats at a subscription cost of zero, Start using the system for your own productivity and soon you will be including it in project specs!