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Northwest Masonry Company Expects Rock-Solid Benefits From RFID

Mutual Materials is gaining efficiency via an RFID-based solution from Zonar to track the movements, inspections and performance of 43 vehicles in four states and Canada.
By Claire Swedberg

Jones says he expects the Zonar system to reduce dispatch and driver labor, and to increase efficiency. "The moment they dock the 2020, notification is sent to dispatch, our third-party maintenance shop and all our repair facilities, so we are all aware of the problem immediately," he states. "This helps speed up the repair time, and the record-keeping is visible all at the same time before, during and after the repair."

To date, with a combination of the Zonar solution and the Oracle software, the company has reduced its number of dispatchers from eight to five, since it is much easier to determine each vehicle's location, and who is operating it. Drivers can be assured that they have updated information regarding their vehicles' functionality, since they can view it on the screen when they pull up records associated with a particular tag ID whenever they read a tag. Moreover, says DJ Britton, Mutual Materials' dispatch manager, they can be assured that problem reports are received immediately, and are thereby resolved by the appropriate maintenance staff.

Mike Jones
By April of next year, Johnson says he expects Mutual Materials' Zonar system to provide some features for customers as well. For instance, Zonar's EVIR system comes with an application programming interface (API) that can be utilized by third-party apps, enabling a customer to use his or her mobile phone or tablet to receive data about the exact location of a vehicle headed to their work site. In the future, he notes, the technology could also allow drivers to update a shipment's status as delivered as soon as they unload the freight.

"To stay ahead of the competition," Johnson reports, "we try to offer our customers the latest technology and continue looking ahead."

Zonar has offered an RFID-based electronic vehicle inspection solution since 2001, says Andrew Johnson, Zonar's VP of marketing and sales support, to reduce the need for paper-based inspection systems. The company provided software, tags and a handheld RFID reader. The 2020 tablet—the company's latest product—enables users to employ an app to view and manage the collected read data. The technology is also employed for school bus fleet management and, in some cases, the tracking of children entering or exiting school buses.

Zonar also provides its system for inspection tracking to Goodfellow Bros., a general contractor based in Wenatchee, Wash. Goodfellow, which operates a fleet of 1,200 vehicles and earth-moving equipment, added RFID tags to its crushing equipment so that employees could scan the tags using Zonar handheld readers or 2020 tablets, and then input the amount of fuel they put into the machines, along with the number of hours the machines have run. By tracking these details, the company is better able to manage the amount of fuel being used, and to potentially lower emissions by identifying when vehicles are running excessively. Goodfellow has also placed tags on vehicles and equipment used during construction projects, to automate the inspection process by enabling drivers to read a specific tag and input observations and details regarding that part of the vehicle.

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