Asset tracking on site

RFID technology delivering exceptional returns tracking site stock, tools, plant & PPE

Asset taking on site
One scan is all you need to record a tool taken out against the worker record

Here’s how RFID works! All deliveries entering the site can be scanned as stock, using a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). While plant equipment is simply labelled with barcodes or RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) tags and is scanned both when given and returned against the recipient’s record. When the time arises for the equipment to be serviced or inspected, records denoting this can be uploaded against the specific plant tools, construction hand tools and site equipment. Let’s see how it stacks up as an investment.

Mosaic stock control, asset tagging & inspection manager is a powerful multifaceted tool to support project management with the tracking of materials and equipment (such as large plant, small plant, construction hand tools & construction equipment), on-site. Historically, on site tracking of materials and tools have been made complicated by the use of traditional paper based processes. These are invariably labour intensive, unreliable and contribute to the increase in construction costs.

To compare the economic feasibility of using RFID tags, we delved into some academic research. The most commonly used measure for gauging financial viability is through a combination of Return on Investment (ROI) and payback period. The academic literature reported that although initial investment and interest rates can cause wide variations in the outcomes of these economic criteria, many of the researchers found an average payback periods of 18 and 36 months for RFID and GPS technology, respectively (Pisello 2006, European Commission 2008, Telogis 2013) While the average ROI values associated with the RFID and GPS technology applications may be up to 10% (Pisello 2006, European Commission 2008, Telogis 2013 and GPS Insight 2013).

So not only does it look like a viable investment on the face of it with quick pay back periods; but our system can also further help with distribution of PPE to the workforce and contractors alike. Firstly, a system such as Mosaic is in place to ensure everyone receives the correct clothing and kit for the job they perform. Secondly end users, such as contractors, could potentially invoice for this site service.

An example of the amount of PPE distributed amongst a workforce was mentioned in a recent Construction Index article about Wates. They have more than 4,000 employees and more than 10,000 supply chain operatives and partners. They estimated a spend of £2m a year with a supplier to provide them with the necessary PPE for their annual operations. By using Mosaic’s asset tagging system, Wates could potentially invoice contractors for the £1.4 million PPE equipment they use while on their jobs. This would represent a considerable recouping of costs and one that would go straight on the bottom line in a sector notorious for tight margins.


Pisello, T. (2006). “Shrinking the Supply Chain Expands the Return: The ROI of RFID in the Supply Chain”, Alinean: the Business Value Selling Experts, accessed via http//

European Commission (2008). “RFID Adoption and Implications”, Impact Study No. 07/2008, accessed via http//

Telogis (2013). “ GPS Fleet Management ROI”, accessed via http//

GPS Insight (2013). “Investing in Fleet Tracking Yields Substantial ROI”, accessed via http//


Construction Industry - Asset and Stock tagging

Crime in the construction industry – What steps can be taken to help prevent workforce crime

It is not surprising that the most common forms of crime in the construction industry are theft, vandalism and health and safety neglect. These crimes contribute to the sector suffering millions of pounds’ worth of losses every year.  These costs relate to not only the crimes themselves but also the resulting financial penalties, such as increased insurance premiums and project delays.

Recent research, carried out by the CIOB (Chartered Institute of Building), examines the scale and impact of crime on the construction industry and highlights the key areas of concern for senior level construction workers and management.  Theft is the most common crime; 21% of respondent’s state that they experience theft each week and, overall, 92% are affected weekly, monthly or yearly.  This indicates that the industry needs to seriously consider the prevention of theft and ensure that construction workers in supervisory roles know how to deal with it appropriately.

Focusing on theft and vandalism for this article, it is estimated that the construction industry suffers losses of more than £400 million* a year due to these, although it is hard to get an accurate figure as many of these crimes go unreported. The theft of plant poses a particular problem for the industry; the replacement of expensive equipment could lead to a project incurring substantial and unforeseen costs. The recovery rate for plant that has been stolen has improved in recent years.  This is thanks to initiatives developed by membership organisation Construction Industry Theft Solutions (CITS), plus continuing collaboration with the police on crime prevention and the recovery of stolen goods.

Additionally, the theft of tools, building materials and small plant is also a major issue that plagues the industry – particularly as these crimes are sometimes perpetrated by direct employees or contractors working on a project. Let’s have a closer look at the figures:

items stolen / theft from construction sites
CIOB Survey: Responses – items such as tools/building materials/small plant stolen from UK construction sites

The survey found that both tools and building materials are stolen by either direct employees/contractors (approximately half) or third parties. CCTV, security measures and access controls can help eradicate the problem caused by the latter, but what more can be done about this crime within the existing workforce? Small plant theft can also be attributed to workforce members in one in four cases. When we look at vandalism statistics committed on a project, we also see that approximately 20-25% is once again caused by this group. It should be noted here that statistically speaking contractors do seem more problematic than the direct workforce with regards to these issues.

vandalism on UK construction sites
CIOB survey: Respondents – Vandalism on UK construction sites

These crimes have long reaching financial implications for all the organisations concerned. A £400 million pounds annual lost is a huge sum of money, compounded by an industry operating on notoriously low profitability margins. It is certainly money that the sector can ill afford, particularly in the current climate of BREXIT and exchange rate volatility.

The survey asked the respondents their opinion of the financial impact upon their organisations – One in four were unable to put a figure upon the cost of this crime, but nearly one in ten respondents said that crime in their industry costs them £100k or more annually.

The study concluded by asking if this problem has remained the same over the last year. Half felt it was no different, but worryingly 40% felt it was getting worst. This begs the questions – what measures can be undertaken to try and combat crimes carried out by the workforce?

Mosaic stock control, asset tagging & inspection manager is a powerful multifaceted tool to support management with the tracking of materials and equipment on-site. Historically, on-site materials tracking and locating have been made complicated by the use of traditional paper based tracking processes. These are invariably labour intensive, potentially ineffectual and contribute to the increase in construction costs.

This type of solution, provides a slick on-line process that easily allows you to book out and in items against a worker record. It provides an online and real time record of where plant, tools and materials are at any point in time during the project, and if policed correctly can reduce these losses.

To conclude, we will look at a live case study of Costain’s London Bridge project, to gain insight into the solution they employed to keep track of stock and machinery use. The client “Costain” wanted to make provisions to track workforce use of machinery, tools and issuing of PPE (Personal Protection Equipment). As they had 1000+ workers on site at any one time, they set up a designated storeroom on site manned by 7 Store Men over a 24-hour opening period. Mosaic’s Stock and Asset control manager system was employed and items were tagged up with RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) and scanned out and back in using a PDA’s (Personal Digital Assistant). To date there has been over 1.4 million transactions where tools and stock have been accessed and returned.

To find out more about the Mosaic’s Asset & Stock Control Manager click here

*D. Edwards, Plant and equipment theft: a practical guide, 2007.

Source: Crime in the construction industry – CIOB (Chartered Institute of Building) survey 2016

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