Asset management with IoT for enhanced efficiency, compliance, and cost-optimisation

Client background and business context 

Client profile: Global market-leading supplier in the development and manufacture of high-end cables with a €1.428,9 mil. total revenue in market prices (2017).

Project: Comprehensive and efficient tool tracking solution.

Challenges

As a high-end cable and cable solution producer, the client must handle operations all around the world. These operations usually translate in the shipping of different types of tools to the actual construction sites all around the world. The company realised that closely monitoring the tools would enable preventive maintenance, thus extending the life of their assets and resulting in a decrease of time and operational costs. 

Decrease the time spent tracking tools: With operations worldwide, keeping track of the assets was prone to human-error and took a lot of time and resources. 

Replace the manual storage and classification of the tools in use: The company had designated administrators that were responsible for keeping track of all the tools’ parameters (type of tool, location, certificates, revisions, etc.). 

Ensure a proactive response: Allow employees to have an overview of the required calibrations, tool replacement situations, and tools’ certifications. 

Ensure enhanced mobility and accessibility: Enable the designated administrators to have a comprehensive image of the tools’ parameters no matter the location or the time.

Diminish tool-related costs: Allow users to monitor costs and distribution that decreases the replacement and the shipping costs for the tools. 

Improve safety and compliance: Have a clear overview of the tools’ validity.

Our approach

To better address the company’s challenges, we organised a service design workshop. During the workshop, we sketched the backlog and the user flow in a matter of weeks. By the end of the workshop, our teams came up with a clickable mock-up of the product that was delivered to the client for final approval before the implementation. 

While we handled the software creation and the implementation of the tool tracker, we also offered consultancy regarding the hardware solutions in terms of providers and product features. 

As part of the tracker, we created a scalable iOS and Android application that reads the data provided by the beacons mounted on equipment and sends that data to the cloud. For increased scalability and mobility, we had a cloud-based approach using Microsoft Azure. Several web services ensure the data collecting and processing. 

Then, this data that is provided to clients (via web and iOS) in a timely and efficient manner. Also, we put in place a notification system that lets users react and respond more proactively to eventual critical situations. 

For even more optimisation, we also created an ongoing inventory that simplifies the company’s work for creating a quarterly and yearly inventory. 

Keeping in mind the business growth and the diversification of possible needs, we made sure that the platform is highly scalable and allows the deployment of new features.

Relevant services:

Technologies:

Swift

Angular JS

Microsoft Azure

Spring by Pivotal

Docker

Results

The platform made a significant contribution to the optimisation and digitisation of our client’s logistics processes. The business value lies essentially in the time savings and in the increased productivity. The company also saw the improvement of the overall services quality and in compliance. 

With this tracking solution, the entire tool check-in and check-out process is largely automated, and the current position of a tool is automatically reported back to the system. 

Now, the company’s users are enabled with fast access to information related to tools such as geo-location, warehouse situation, environment data, electrical and mechanical certificates, etc. 

The tool tracking platform allows an interactive detection of nearby tools, thus significantly shortening the time needed for locating a certain asset. The persons responsible can see accurate information regarding one or more tools in a matter of seconds no matter the location of the user. In addition, the costs can be better monitored and distributed as life-span of a tool or machine can be accurately tracked. 

The tool also improves the work safety, since all the electrical and mechanical test certificates are automatically checked for validity and a corresponding feedback is sent to the user.

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