Owner-Implemented Third Party Barcodes and Jovix

RFID isn’t always the answer. This project has complete material visibility through nearly exclusive use of barcodes on steel.

Jovix is deployed at a commercial cement manufacturing project near Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. The owner is using Jovix as their Material Readiness solution to support multiple EPC companies and a complex supply chain that includes multiple fabricators, marshalling yards, laydown yards, and material warehouses. Using Jovix project-wide ensures complete visibility throughout the entire material lifecycle, from fabrication to installation, no matter the EPC firm or subcontractor. Jovix provides the owner with robust functionality in reporting, trending, and predictive analytics. It is easily configurable for the owner to achieve total material visibility across the lifecycle.

Jobsite Challenges

Steel piecemarks from other countries were illegible – piecemarks on steel are notoriously difficult to identify, but this is especially problematic when coming from the other side of the globe. Pieces are usually heavily painted, and are weathered from spending months on trains, ocean liners, barges, and trucks. Depending on the vendor, the steel pieces will arrive with a varied shipment method and packaging arrangement. Receiving crews lose productivity when they are faced with shaking down these shipments that have no single material language.

The Goal?
Efficiency & Visibility


A single solution for total visibility of material status and availability across all procurement firms and suppliers.

Working in conjunction with an EPC’s purchasing system, a program for third-party barcodes was introduced at a fabrication facility. The further upstream standardization occurs, the easier the data transactions downstream throughout the material lifecycle; therefore, barcodes tied directly into the original purchase order and were originated by the EPC instead of the fabricator. Upon arrival after fabrication and shipment, receiving teams used mobile tablets with barcode readers to scan the pieces and immediately know everything about where that particular piece has been, where it is going, when it needs to be there, and provide real-time material information that informs workface planning. A hardware-agnostic solution, for this project the receiving teams are using rugged tablets that can withstand the harsh temperatures of the Canadian winters.

As a precaution, the site has adopted a secondary barcoding system to ensure each piece is accurately accounted for throughout the lifecycle, no matter the conditions on-site. The new barcode is a distinctive Jovix orange, and is automatically tied to the original barcode scan, providing back-up in the case of loss or damage to the original. The orange barcode also provides a quick indicator of whether a material has been received into Jovix or not, which is especially valuable during a large shakedown.

This process has since been adopted site-wide across all EPC firms as a bolt-on solution to their individual purchasing software programs.

The heavy use of barcodes on this project, and minimal use of RFID tags both active and passive, demonstrates that for material visibility there is no “silver bullet” when it comes to auto-ID. RFID and GPS are not inherently superior to barcodes, and each project presents a unique use case for Material Readiness. Through the Jovix Material Readiness Assessment (MRA), the Jovix implementation team worked closely with all project stakeholders and determined that barcodes were the ideal identifier for the majority of the project’s materials.

This project is a success story for how barcodes can work just as well to achieve total visibility. RFID is only one option, and no auto-ID option is better than another—it is always a question of what is most appropriate. For this Jovix implementation, there are only a few hundred active tags for the life of the project, and are used only for long-lead, high-cost items that need real-time monitoring as they move through the global supply chain.

Receiving Process Approximately

10x faster


  • Receiving process approximately 10x faster
  • Zero lost or unidentified steel pieces over two years
  • Owner has transitioned to site-wide receipt of shipments via purchase order with mandatory application of orange Jovix barcodes to all materials, in addition to steel
  • Decrease in safety risk exposure by streamlining field transactions and increasing accuracy

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