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Be in Control with Hilti ON!Track

Hilti ON track

Asset tracking software helps increase profit and productivity for construction businesses. Construction equipment management software manages assets and inventory effectively.

The key to increasing profit and productivity in your construction business

Poor asset management eats up employee time and can almost cost your company a small fortune.

This is a widespread problem in the construction sector. To the extent that construction companies spend an average of 90 hours each month searching for their assets across construction sites. For example, an elevator customer we were working with, spent around INR 10,00,000 annually in time and cost for asset management.

Understandably, this waste of resources takes a heavy toll on your operational efficiency and erodes into your profit margin. And if your firm is one of the 65% in the sector that has trouble keeping track of required certificates and maintenance dates, the problem gets worse.

So why does it happen – and how can you avoid it?

The digital black hole in the construction industry

According to the McKinsey Global Institute’s Industry Digitization Index, construction is the second least digitized sector in the world.

Astonishingly, for an industry that uses increasingly cutting-edge techniques to meet the growing demand for environmentally sensitive construction, relatively fewer companies digitize their assets, business processes, and working practices.

Instead, most of them manage their assets using a patchwork of paper-based systems and simplistic technologies such as Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. This way of working is neither transparent nor accountable, and hence the asset management becomes dependent on specific individuals – which implies that it becomes difficult and complex for anyone else to pick up the baton if a key person is ill or on a holiday.

Such systems also have negative cost and efficiency consequences for managing both physical and administrative assets. You will certainly recognize some of the key problems and frustrations in both areas.

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Problems managing physical assets

When you use disjoint/disconnected management systems, you are never fully in control of your physical assets such as tools, vehicles and other consumables.

Unless you are  aware of the exact location of each asset at any given point of time, you may face the following problems:

Expensive delays. If you have to spend time tracking down assets, you cannot get them on-site when they are needed. This can lead to projects being delayed and workers waiting for tools to arrive.

Duplication of assets. If you can’t quickly track down an asset like a drill, cement mixer or ladder, you will end up spending money on a needless duplicate to keep a project on track.

Lost and stolen assets. Without a proper track of the person responsible for your assets, risks of theft and loss increases.

Problems managing administrative assets

Using a disjoint system to manage a complex ecosystem of administrative assets is equivalent to asking for trouble and can cause a wide range of alarming issues. Some of these include:

Time Wastage. Manually having to check and monitor paperwork, compliance status, inspection intervals and similar factors is extremely time-consuming and expensive. Without automated reminders, you can find yourself needlessly paying for hundreds of hours of employee time.

Expensive errors. Non-digitized systems increase the probability of errors. For example, if you accidentally fail to renew mandatory Health & Safety accreditation, you could be slapped with hefty fines by the regulatory authorities.

Unsafe working practices. If your system does not notify you of the inspection and maintenance schedule, it is possible that your workers will end up using an unsafe equipment. And, If they meet with an accident while using it, you could face major legal penalties.

Loss of business. Often, many contracts are only awarded if you meet specific accreditations and training criteria. If your system allows you to overlook renewals, then you may not be considered for certain contracts and you could be breaking the terms and conditions of existing ones as well.

Watch how HILTI and SAP are incorporating IOT to solve construction’s billion dollar problem

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Digitizing asset management

If executed properly, the digitization of asset management brings major benefits to construction companies. To understand its importance, you first need an insight into the working principles of a construction-friendly equipment tracking software.

Typically, you would be looking for a system that has the following features and capabilities:

Robust hardware. You need hardware that can be attached to physical assets, allowing you to scan and track each item with a handheld device. Ideally, this would be a robust barcode created especially for the construction companies, that can withstand rough handling and tough weather conditions.

Flexible software. The software you use needs to be portable, so it can be used onsite and on the move. If it is a cloud-based system, it will provide each user with real-time information, and if it can be used on smartphones with iOS and Android, hardware costs might reduce– and you will not be dependent on expensive proprietary devices.

Service. Any system needs to be tailored to your own inventory and working practices, ideally with the expert support from a vendor. This might include data upload, asset tagging, and onsite training.

Examples of digital asset management benefits

The best way to understand how digital asset tracking software brings cost and efficiency benefits to construction firms is to see how they are used in the real world. These two examples provide you with a clear insight. 

1. Physical Asset Management

You need to make sure that two cement mixers, an angle grinder, and three drills are present at a jobsite the next morning. Each item has a rugged barcode tag, which has been scanned into the asset management system using a smartphone.

It is now possible for you to log in to the system to see the location of each item you need, who is currently responsible for them and whether they are available for use the next day or not. You can now assign the required items to a responsible employee, who will receive an alert instructing them to get the equipment to the correct site the next day.

Key Benefit: Your employees no longer need to spend hours tracking items using paper-based systems and phone calls. The items will be on site the next day, so you don’t lose time and money through delays. You don’t need to buy duplicate items, because you know you have the right equipment and in the right quantity. If you need to transfer more assets to the site, the process of locating and assigning them takes minutes rather than hours. Also, you can order in the number of consumables you need as an effective system tracks the usage of goods (such as bolts, nails, plasterboard) – means no more over expenditure for the extra assets that you don’t require.

2. Administrative Asset Management

You work with an asset management software vendor to upload your administrative assets into the system. These include:

• Health & Safety certification

• Employee certifications and training schedules

• Vehicle insurance due dates

• Professional body membership details

• Rental equipment return dates

• Site cost allocations

You assign dates to each of these items indicating when you need to take action, such as certification renewal or arranging fresh training. The representatives responsible for the action are sent automated reminders before the due dates, ensuring no business-critical administration is missed out.

Key Benefit: You no longer have to pay for excessive employee time spent monitoring administrative renewals. Automated reminders ensure that each task is assigned to the responsible individual in time. As a result, it is simple to remain compliant with important issues like Health & Safety inspections and certification, meaning you avoid the possibility of expensive fines.

The business case for switching to digital asset management

ON!Track is helping me take faster decisions since it always shows the real-time status of all the assets & consumables that I own. My duplicate purchases have reduced by a sizable amount. The mobile app is very useful for quick stock checks and transfers. Now, I see a higher sense of ownership in my employees, as responsibilities are clearly defined”

- Director of a major specialty contractor in Pune

This construction asset management software is extremely easy to use and relatively cheaper to implement. Most importantly, cloud-based platforms keep your data more secure than ever. With the right choice of software and rational implementation, it will more than pay for itself very quickly – by cutting expenditure on physical assets, by freeing up staff time for more productive purposes, by eliminating delays on site and reducing the likelihood of fines that crop up by accidentally failing to comply with regulations.

To learn more about how digital asset management can transform your construction business, please get in touch today.

Contact us on 1-800-102-6400 during office hours or email us at customercare@hilti.com.

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