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Surveyors Locate Savings With RFID Deployment

DRMP has gained near-100 percent inventory visibility into its surveying equipment as items are used at remote locations and then returned to its multiple storage sites.
By Claire Swedberg
Mar 08, 2020

Civil engineering and surveying company DRMP has gained visibility into the hundreds of high-value cameras and surveying equipment items that travel to worksites across three states, thanks to its use of a radio frequency identification system. By utilizing passive RFID to identify each of its mobile tools, says Todd Catella, DRMP's asset and inventory manager, the company can account for those items without having to manually count them, write serial numbers and input data.

The solution, provided by A2B Tracking, consists of the technology company's software and integration, along with handheld RFID readers from Zebra Technologies coupled with Samsung Android-based tablets or cell phones. It also includes multiple types of on-metal and standard RFID tags to suit the form factor and material of the specific assets to which they are attached.

DRMP sends a few hundred surveyors and engineers to worksites that are often in remote areas, near highways or at busy intersections. The equipment they use, including LIDAR laser scanners, cameras, GPS devices and drones, is high in value and can end up damaged, lost or stolen from work sites, often from the backs of trucks and needing replacement. Tracking inventory, however, as well as the time and place at which something went missing, traditionally required a great deal of manual effort on the part of both the field crew and office personnel.

The company is growing. It provides services throughout Florida and North Carolina, and recently it has been gaining business in the state of Georgia, meaning inventory management could become a greater challenge and more critical. In the past, in order to ensure equipment could be accounted for, field workers with equipment on hand were spending part of their days physically counting and reading serial numbers to identify tools for the office staff.

On the other hand, the company's accounting department was trying to track all of the hundreds of assets, some of which they might not be personally familiar with, which created confusion. If a piece of equipment is damaged, lost or stolen, the company needs to know what needs replacing, as well as when and where it was last seen, and it needs to be able to provide proof of ownership of that item for insurance purposes. Often, collecting that kind of documentation proved time-consuming for employees as well.

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