Where are workers? It is a good question—one many managers may ask themselves on a daily basis, especially when a workforce is compromised of hundreds of mobile employees. This is why some organizations are using RFID (radio-frequency identification) to track the exact location of each worker.
In Washington, D.C., for example, Grunley Construction, www.grunley.com, is using RFID for realtime workforce monitoring on two projects at American University for a period of 9-12 months.
For industries with mobile workforces, the technology isn’t just used to make sure employees are working. Rather, it helps managers make better decisions and mitigate risk on a job. Some organizations even use the technology to ensure compliance with local economic development and hiring objectives.
Here is how the technology works in the construction industry: Tags attached to hardhats or ID badges send data about workers’ whereabouts to Web-based devices, including smartphones and tablets. Armed with the data, project managers can make decisions and integrate information with daily reports, work schedules, and even accounting.
As another example, in Baltimore, Md., RAM/KBE Joint Venture is using technology to monitor the workforce and for local employment initiative analysis at the Baltimore Learning Center project, which will be monitored for a period of 12-14 months.
Both Grunley and RAM/KBE are using Workforce Monitor from ADR Software, www.softwareadr.com, which is a service that provides employee data to improve decisionmaking, project documentation, safety, and response readiness. The system uses RFID tags that are embedded in all-weather job stickers that stick to hard hats and ID badges to monitor the workforce.
Currently, this particular technology is used to track more than 40,000 workers at construction sites throughout the United States. The company says the service is changing the way general contractors manage labor and manpower, and the adoption rate continues to increase.
While RFID might not be used to monitor stationary employees in the office, industries with a mobile workforce are finding great value in the technology.