In the U.S. Marines, everything has a process, says Brian McGrady, Environmental Management, Inc.'s assets and facilities manager. He should know. McGrady served 21 years in the Corps managing logistics, including an eight-month tour in Iraq, where he helped supply a battalion of 1,000 Marines. And, says McGrady, "A good process is vital in the Marines." Now, he sees RFID-enabled asset-management processes as the key to EMI's success.
But before McGrady came on board, processes were sorely lacking at EMI, a $25-million-a-year business, based in Plain City, Ohio, that provides landscaping and grounds-maintenance services to homeowners and businesses across central Ohio. EMI's managers wanted to double the company's revenues within a few years, but managing inventory was a hindrance to growth.
Leaders of each landscaping crew were required to perform inventory counts once a week, McGrady says, but the manual process was broken. Crew leaders filled out paper forms, and it took McGrady and an assistant a minimum of three hours each week to update spreadsheets. "Many of the forms were illegible," he explains. "Often, you couldn't even read who the guy was." Even worse, to stay on schedule, crew leaders would sometimes estimate rather than verify the quantities of shovels and other items, which would lead to a shortage of crucial tools on a job.
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