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Every business leader recognizes that downtime is costly and exposes firms to risks and liabilities. In the construction industry, asset management failures are a significant cause of downtime. According to the Boston Consulting Group, construction workers spend about 30% of their time waiting due to missing tools, broken equipment, late deliveries and delayed precursor steps. Missing assets are typically lost in transit and found on another jobsite, stored improperly or, in some cases, absent-mindedly taken home.

Contractors lose productive hours searching for tools, and the jobsite expends resources on internal investigations when tools disappear or are misplaced for an extended period. These interruptions contribute to workflow deviations and delays. Over time, issues with asset management can frustrate team members and lower morale.

Contractors typically adopt manual systems and practices to limit downtime caused by misplaced tools. Even with more modern, technology-driven options available, contractors track tools and assets with handwritten notes, whiteboards and spreadsheets. Jobsites may also implement end-of-day walkthroughs and job box inventory checks to ensure every asset has been returned to its proper storage place.

Unfortunately, manual asset tracking is time-consuming and creates risks due to human error, inconsistency and inefficiency. Even when tool and asset information is documented correctly, those details aren’t always easily accessible to all team members on a given project. Manual asset tracking inconveniences contractors who must refer back to static whiteboards and paper while leaving executives and any offsite team member without up-to-date information. Jobsites that rely on manual systems could avoid these hassles and increase efficiency by adding digital complements to their processes.

How Bluetooth-Powered Jobsites Can Help Contractors Better Manage Assets

As the construction industry moves toward the future, jobsites are beginning to see the value in digitizing asset management processes. Bluetooth technology is a major part of the success of these emerging digital systems. Digital platforms can offer real-time asset tracking through the use of Bluetooth-enabled tags. Depending on the system, tags can either be manufacturer-specific or applied to any tool or asset, including consumables. Manufacturer-agnostic tags can be incredibly helpful for tracking assets that require frequent inspections or servicing, such as phones, fire extinguishers and fleet vehicles, as well as tools from multiple suppliers.

Every few minutes, Bluetooth-enabled tags indicate the location of an asset by broadcasting a signal. Any contractor with a smartphone and the digital asset management system’s app will receive the signal if they are in range. The radius for Bluetooth signals can be up to 100 feet. Using these signals, digital asset management systems update and record the asset’s current location and location history without manual intervention from contractors. Limiting the need for manual intervention improves data capture accuracy for business leaders and ensures that the system is a helpful tool for contractors instead of an annoyance or burden. Many digital systems can push out notifications to the assigned location of a Bluetooth-tracked tool to update entire teams if an asset is left behind at the jobsite or warehouse. This improves transparency throughout the jobsite. Depending on the asset management system, contractors, superintendents, foremen, auditors, and executives can access location data, operational status, maintenance records, manuals and more.

Having various tracking details accessible at the push of a button eliminates downtime associated with tool searches and supports better inventory control. By using digital asset management systems with Bluetooth technology, contractors can refocus their time, energy and resources back to larger tasks, streamline their daily walkthroughs and increase their efficiency. Business leaders gain a single source for data they can use to improve planning, procurement and workflows based on accurate asset utilization, rather than guesses. For executives interested in creating value and reducing waste, these systems’ ability to automatically capture asset data and make it accessible and reportable is a significant advantage.

Looking ahead, more construction teams may look to digital asset management systems with Bluetooth to better manage their tools and equipment, reducing their downtime and introducing intelligent tracking solutions to their projects.

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