Tracking supplies, materials and equipment is one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish during the 'last mile'. This infamous mile is where stuff gets delayed, goes missing, or gets lost forever. It's also the place where errors run amuck. Now add in the dirty, dynamic, complex ecosystem of a construction project, and you've got a logistical maze and a money pit of waste on you hands. This has been the status quo for decades.
A perfect example of this problem is tracking doors. This might appear to be benign, since a door is a simple thing - open, shut, sometimes lock - but it's a well known headache across construction. Let's break this headache down.
On any one project, you could have hundreds, sometimes thousands of doors. They all look fairly similar, however every single one of them has fundamental differences. Here are just a handful of those differences.
- Dimensions, sometimes by a factor of mere millimeters
- Locking mechanisms
- Hinges and swing conditions
- Glass windows and temper requirements
- OSHA compliance (is it a fire exit?)
- Installation instructions and timelines
- Destinations (a guaranteed difference)
The list goes on. So when you get a stack of thousands of doors, it becomes quite a logistical conundrum to get them moving to the right place at the right time. Turner's project at Atlanta's Grady Hospital was no different. So it was a perfect place to try BitRip Digital Stickers as a way to improve the flow of material.
Each BitRip sticker is a one-of-a-kind code that not only holds digital information, it also tracks it's GPS position whenever scanned.
The steps were quite straightforward to implement for Turner.
1. Begin with a simple digital template, information common to an entire batch of doors.
2. Paste that digital template on every small sticker attached to each door's edge.
(Since pasting templates is one tap of a button, a 100 doors can be done in minutes)
3. Scan and upload unique attachments. Probably the most time consuming part, but unavoidable nonetheless.
Interestingly, step 3 has shortcuts. You can upload voice memos to save time typing. You can also add pre-made tags such as "Fire Exit" or "Early Install" to further streamline the process. Anything to avoid manually typing stuff out.
4. Group doors together inside projects for easier tracking. An example - a project called "West Wing" groups all doors headed toward the west wing of the hospital.
Once each door has its necessary attachments, and is organized into groups, the fun begins. And by fun, we mean the headaches for all participants get relieved.
The doors leave the facility, each with a low cost tracking mechanism (14 cents). When they arrive at each stage, someone must scan the digital stickers to get information on them - installation records, delivery locations, timeline priorities, etc. Thankfully, anyone can do this too - all they need is a smartphone and a completely free BitRip App. As one of our customers put it - "BitRip has democratized barcodes ... made them as easy as texting".
The beauty of this system - any time someone scans the label to retrieve information, they add high quality data to the label, simply because all that high quality data already lives on your phone. In a split-second scan, the label records the user, the time/date, the location, and anything else you need. It's a live logbook soaking up information. So now lets go back to that facility project manager looking for updates on the material.
They bring up the 'West Wing' Project on their phone, and they see updated locations of every door on a map.
"Yikes!" - a few of the doors got dropped off in the wrong spot. That happens all the time. But now the manager has full insight into this situation. They can tap on the sticker's map pin and add a quick alert - "Urgent - wrong location. Needs to be at Wing 445". They can even leave a voice memo too - "Call me ASAP at 310-223-2211". With notifications enabled, the right people get alerted to the situation immediately. No more scratching heads wondering what the delay is.
Once the issue gets resolved, the manager types the premade "Installed" tag in BitRip's search. Immediately they get a list of every door that has an "Installed" tag added to it. Likewise, they type in "In-transit" - and see a list of every door still in transit. With one quick search, they get a fully updated installation status for the entire project.
What exactly is BitRip bringing to the table for Turner and the 'tracking doors' conundrum? Simply put - visibility. And it grows stronger because of a virtuous cycle.
Every door has richer information attached to it - just one scan away. And every scan adds layers of richer information to the network. So this last mile of tracking turns into a positive feedback cycle - one that adds more and more visibility so delays and mistakes can be minimized.
Now move that beyond doors - to prefab, tools and equipment, even people. BitRip is simple communications network tied to physical places.
And it costs just a $40 roll to try out everything on offer.
To learn more details about this last mile case study, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org