Losing material is a chronic problem. Let’s solve it.

Losing material in a crowded laydown yard is a commonplace problem in construction, especially for large capital projects with multiple yards and warehouses that rely on a paper-based system. Using technology to locate materials was the first problem Jovix sought to solve using RFID and today’s real-life story from the field proves that losing materials—no matter how big—is real, and it’s something that is never going away until paper is no longer the norm.

Allow me to lay the scene:

A superintendent who is not using Jovix in his day-to-day routine was looking for an 80-foot long, 60-inch diameter pipe spool. He tried finding it himself on Friday, using his grid process (which is paper-based) and gave up. On Monday, he asked someone on his team to help him locate the pipe. They searched for 2 hours, for a total of 4 man-hours.

The Materials team heard about this and said “Wait! We can help!” Two indirect laborers armed with Jovix spent 1 minute getting the truck from the office, 2 minutes driving, and 2 minutes to find the spool using the Find function on a mobile tablet, for a total of 10 minutes or 0.17 man hours to locate the spool.

Why is this funny? A few reasons:

One: we have heard again and again “I don’t have a need for a new materials management process. My way has worked for 20 years and there’s no reason to change it. We don’t have a problem with lost material.” We know this isn’t true, because we know the percentage allowed for re-procurement costs and we know the industry data and we know the trends (if it’s under $10k, just buy a new one instead of looking for the lost one). We know for a fact that on average only 37% of direct labor time is spent on tools, and the majority of that non-tool time is spent looking for materials. When direct labor makes up the majority of a project’s budget, you’d better bet those wasted location man hours really add up.

Two: it’s 80 feet long. I can’t show you a picture from the jobsite. But if you need help visualizing how long 80 feet is, here you go:

Things that are 80 feet tall

See? The funny part is they were looking at it the whole time. Never underestimate the realities of your laydown yard. These people are not bad at their jobs, they are just not armed with the right tool for the job using the technology available to us today. That’s where Jovix comes in, and location is just the beginning.