The Importance of Deploying Asset Management on Construction Sites

Construction sites across the UK lose £800 million worth of assets every year. On average, there are about 7000 metal-related thefts per month – most of which are equipment and vehicles. That includes:

  1. Tools
  2. Surveying equipment
  3. Breakers
  4. Excavators/diggers
  5. Generators
  6. Rollers
  7. Wacker plates
  8. Pressure/power washers

In addition to revenue losses due to equipment theft, construction sites also face significant efficiency losses – time lost in finding equipment, assigning equipment, and maintaining equipment and machinery.

As a result, construction managers have started to spend proportionally more on software and analysis services that aim to better manage their assets.

Why Construction Managers Use Asset Management Software

Source: ONS Report, the construction industry is spending proportionally more on business services, and proportionally less on materials

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What Type of Assets Are You Looking to Manage?

Asset Management Capabilities That Construction Managers Utilise

Accurate Asset Register

An asset register includes all essential data of each asset in a construction business. Every piece of equipment, every tool, every vehicle, and so on. This data, which can either be collected over time or instantly, is accessible to managers, employees, and project owners.

Verify Asset Information on Mobile

With mobile capabilities, employees and managers can access a system’s asset register when on-site, off-site, or on the road. Asset data can be accessed through a smartphone, laptop, or tablet via an app or website.

Use of IoT Devices

Most modern Asset Management Software comes equipped with IoT (Internet of Things) enabled devices that help to track physical assets effectively. These devices – typically in the form of RFID tags, GPS trackers, and Barcodes – essentially talk to each other to locate and retrieve asset data in an instant.

Track Modular Construction Projects

A common process is ‘modular construction’, in which a building or project is constructed off-site. For a modular project to be successful, it needs to be built to the same codes and standards as on-site built facilities. With an asset management system in place, project managers can access key data such as plant conditions, materials used, equipment information, and health and safety documents.

Project Management

An asset management system can create a more utilised workflow process for each project. Any improvement to the step-by-step workflow process can help to reduce lead times and increase productivity.

Maintenance and Repair Scheduling

By tracking and recording an asset’s life cycle, managers can begin to understand when an asset is at its optimal performance level or when it needs repairing or replacing. With this data, they can generate an asset profile and better plan a maintenance and repair schedule – such as taking a preventive maintenance approach to essential construction assets. Then, with a schedule in place, the risk of unplanned downtime to critical assets is reduced.

Budget Tracking and Forecasting

As each project is carried out, data can be collected to understand the costs involved at each stage. These costs can then be instantly – and accurately – compared to budget estimates to improve future spending.

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Construction Solution

As part of the research into choosing the right Asset Management Software for your construction operation, it is essential to first identify the company’s goals. By doing so, a site manager or project owner can identify what is needed from the system to deliver the best results.

This not only applies to the company’s current needs but to future requirements too. Most commonly, the right software can be found by simply asking a few questions:

Can it Record the Operational Data of Assets?

The asset lifecycle process begins when a business first plans to rent or buy an asset. Assets can then be tracked throughout their active period, right through to disposal. The right system will be able to manage this period while collecting valuable data for each stage of the asset’s life cycle. By doing so, the system will be able to generate reports such as maintenance schedules and usability in a bid to maximise an asset’s overall ROI.

Can it Track Assets in Real-Time?

For a project owner to collect the most accurate and efficient data for their assets, they’ll want an asset management system with real-time tracking capabilities. This helps to produce exact and current data on asset usage, location, and ownership through technologies like Barcodes and RFID. Effectively helping to build an accurate asset register.

Can it Manage Hard and Soft Assets?

Assets that prove critical to a construction company’s day-to-day operations may not just be physical items like equipment, tools, and vehicles. Vital assets may also be stored on a computer in the form of a lease and rental agreement, health and safety protocols, training information, and other important documents. This makes it essential to implement an asset management system that can manage both hard and soft assets.

Is Custom Reporting Built-in?

Detailed and custom reporting is a crucial feature that helps with industrial compliance and health and safety reports protocols. When looking for a management system, be sure to find a solution that allows customised reports. That way, you can tailor each one to the needs of the business.

Is Training Needed to Operate the System?

With departments, like engineering and financial, needing access to the system it can be important to know how much training is required. A company should also factor in the cost of training courses. As well as how long it takes each employee or team to be trained in using the system.

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5 Reasons a Cloud-Based Solution Is Best

Although the construction industry has been slow in adopting asset management tools in the past, 44% of UK operations deployed a type of cloud-based construction management in 2018. Compared with just 30% in 2016.

An up tick in cloud-based construction software indicates that many operations are going digital. Allowing site managers and employees to shift away from manual methods such as using spreadsheets and whiteboards to manage their construction assets.

1. Increase Data Security With Cloud-Based Construction Software

Keeping data stored in a cloud-based construction management tool can greatly improve the overall security of your operations. As opposed to using pen and paper or excel spreadsheets, which can be destroyed in situations such as a fire or computer damage.

As software vendors commonly use a variety of encryption methods to protect data, cloud systems are extremely secure.

Keeping data in the cloud also means you can do away with a vulnerable paper-based system. You may also no longer need a lengthy or complex disaster recovery plan concerning asset management.

2. Easily Collaborate with Your Team Across Multiple Sites

A major advantage of using a cloud-based construction management tool is it can support the sharing of files. This allows your entire team of workers to access data when needed and effectively improve the lines of communication.

Here’s a quick example of how, in this instance, a construction asset management tool can be utilised:

Imagine that an excavator breaks down on one of your sites. To avoid a delay in construction the site manager logs the fault and requests another excavator, which is done through the tool’s maintenance module.

You receive the request and organise for an excavator to be transferred from another site. You also arrange for the faulty excavator to be collected and repaired. You then send a progress update out to all workers involved. Those employees receive an alert to their smartphone and can access the new data instantly.

3. Receive Automatic System Updates

The way a cloud-based construction tool works is that your data is stored on the servers of the software vendor. This means you don’t incur the upfront costs associated with installing your own data servers on-site; unlike an on-premise setup.

A cloud-based system can have its own benefits, including making sure your data and servers are regularly and routinely updated. This includes software security patches and constant maintenance. In most cases, 24/7 hour maintenance is mandatory.

This also means that a company’s IT team won’t need to update the software manually, which can free up time and in-house resources. Most importantly, you won’t need to worry about out-of-date software being exploited by hackers.

4. Improve Time-Management

Having your asset data in one centralised system means you and your team can find, edit, and update information as and when needed, from any location.

A cloud-based construction management solution will also typically have a reporting feature built-in. This allows you to instantly extract essential data ready for analysis and company audits.

5. Save Money and Scale

Cloud-based construction software is often available as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. This package lets you pay for your system via a reoccurring subscription, as opposed to investing capital upfront. It is often easier to deploy, resulting in low startup costs.

If your operation continues to grow year on year, you’ll want to find a software package with the option to add different modules. For instance, you could start with an asset tracking tool and then decide to add a full asset management system. You may want to add a maintenance program or invoicing module later down the line, too.