All infrastructure companies deal with and use very large quantities of construction materials that need to be transported to the site from their nearest camps through trucks. These trucks move in and out of each such geographically dispersed camps where loading and unloading of materials takes place whose value typically runs into several lakhs of rupees
A major challenge for such infrastructure companies is that they are unable to reliably track and account for each one of these trucks, the volume of which can vary anywhere from a few hundreds to thousands on a daily basis. As a result, huge amount of material loss takes place that cannot be accounted for despite their current process and efforts put in place to track and account for all such material. Workers often take advantage of loopholes and lapses in these processes and gain personally by resorting to thefts, pilferages and adulterations of such materials. For example, some trucks were found to have hidden rocks that illegitimately add to the weight of the material when weighed at the weigh-bridge. In some cases workers even connive with each other and steal material, sometimes a whole truck, causing huge losses to their parent companies.
All infrastructure companies deal with and use very large quantities of construction materials that need to be transported to the site from their nearest camps through trucks. These trucks move in and out of each such geographically dispersed camps where loading and unloading of materials takes place whose value typically runs into several lakhs of rupees.A major challenge for such infrastructure companies is that they are unable to reliably track and account for each one of these trucks, the volume of which can vary anywhere from a few hundreds to thousands on a daily basis. As a result, huge amount of material loss takes place that cannot be accounted for despite their current process and efforts put in place to track and account for all such material. Workers often take advantage of loopholes and lapses in these processes and gain personally by resorting to thefts, pilferages and adulterations of such materials. For example, some trucks were found to have hidden rocks that illegitimately add to the weight of the material when weighed at the weigh-bridge. In some cases workers even connive with each other and steal material, sometimes a whole truck, causing huge losses to their parent companies.
Triband's Material Tracking System is conceptualized, designed and developed to reliably track, monitor and analyze material movement in and out of infrastructure camps through trucks. It is a smart IT based mobility solution designed to capture in almost real time, each and every "transaction" - an incoming or outgoing truck and its details. The overall process flow for data capture is as depicted in below figure.
Figure.1: Meta-data capture for incoming and outgoing trucks through mobile application, comprising of a single transaction.
Key data elements that can be captured through the mobile device application at the gate of any camp are Material related details such as Bitumen, Cement, Steel, Fuel, Sand and others along with their photograph, Vehicle details - its source and chainage along with the photograph of registration number and the material document number and its photo.The data captured by the mobile application is then saved locally in the device's external microSD card. Whenever the device is connected to the internet through Wi-Fi, GPRS or 2G, it is then uploaded to a centralized server through a web service and stored in a database. This raw data is then used to generate several reports that can provide valuable information and insights into the efficiency of daily operations. Some of these reports that can be generated are listed in Table 1.Table 1. Reports supported by the Web Server Application
|S. No.||Report Type||Report Description|
|1||Basic Transaction Reports||Report for dashboard giving last transaction date and transaction count per camp for all camps.
List of all Gate Transactions.
List of all Weigh-Bridge transactions
List of all ERP transactions
|2||Analysis Reports||Report for vehicles in camp-to-camp trip taking beyond a given time duration
Report for supplier-vehicles visiting multiple camps
Report for supplier-vehicles visiting any camp(s) multiple times
Report for non-supplier vehicles trips taking time beyond a given time duration
Report for supplier vehicles remaining in a camp beyond a given time duration
Report for summarizing all material received within a given period
|3||Link and Trace Reports||Report linking Weigh-Bridge transactions with Gate transactions
Report linking Incoming Gate transactions with matched Weigh-Bridge Transactions
Report linking Outgoing Gate transactions with matched Weigh-Bridge transactions
Report indicating suppliers avoiding weigh-bridge after entry
The solution comprises of a client and server application. The client is an Android application that runs on a mobile device and is used to capture the data at each camp site. Multiple mobile devices can be used to capture data from each camp as well. The server application runs on cloud, captures the uploaded data and stores it in a database. Reports are then generated from this centralized data repository. The overall data process flow is as depicted in Figure 2.
Figure.2: Data Flow Diagram.
The client mobile application is designed for ease of use and data entry is done through drop-down selections and easy navigation with data validations. Thus the data for each transaction including capturing three photographs can be completed in about 40-50 seconds.
The data is uploaded to the server through a web service and is then inserted into the database in structured tables. The photographs are stored on the server hard disk. The weigh bridge data can also be uploaded to the server and stored in the database through administrator login ID for reconciliation with the Gate transaction. Further, this near real-time data can also be compared with ERP data. These reports can be exported into Excel and PDF files for archival and presentation purposes. Every report is also searchable dynamically through text search in the grid control. This flexible grid view allows users to sort/search/paginate on any data type column.
The Android client application consists of the following screens for capturing the Incoming and the outgoing trucks which carry various materials such as Bitumen, Steel, Cement, Aggregate, Fuel, Sand and others. The first screen is a login screen wherein the user needs to enter his/her login details for authentication. Only authorized users are allowed to capture data and upload the same into the cloud server application. The login screen is as shown in Figure 3.
Figure.3: Login Screen of the Android Mobile Application
Users in the Android mobile application are managed by a local administrator user whose credentials are pre-loaded into the application. The admin user can manage (Create/Edit/Delete) additional users of the application but cannot capture or upload the data for any transactions. Non-admin users can also retrieve their passwords if it is forgotten.
After successful login, the second screen is as shown in Figure 4.
Figure.4: User welcome screen that displays user details and the camp ID.
In this welcome screen user details along with the last login data time and the camp ID that this user is assigned to are displayed. The user then has to select one of "Incoming" or "Outgoing" buttons depending on the truck status for which the data is about to be captured.
If the user selects "incoming" button the following incoming screen is displayed.
Figure.5: "Incoming" screen options.
As shown in Figure 5, all types of materials for which the meta data has to be captured are displayed as easily readable and intuitive icons along with text. User needs to only tap the appropriate icon. Then the corresponding screen of meta-data details of the material to be captured, for example Bitumen, is as shown in Figure 6.
Figure.6: "Incoming" screen for Bitumen selection
Material (here Bitumen), Vehicle and Document details can be captured by the user by easily entering the appropriate data in the fields. The data fields and the controls vary depending on the type of material details to be captured. Vehicle details include the registration number, its source and destination details. In addition, photographs of the Material, Vehicle and the Document also can be captured using the photo feature of mobile phone device.
The screen for "Outgoing" is very similar to the "Incoming" screen shown above.After the user enters all the relevant data in the screen, data is saved upon clicking the button "Save Form Data". The date and time of the truck arrival or departure at the gate is automatically captured by the system when the form data is saved. All such captured data is then sent to the centralized server application where the meta-data is stored in a database and the photographs with Latitude and longitude details along with Camp id and date time stamp are stored in the local server folder for viewing and reports generation through the server side application.
The server side web application can be used by managers, executives and team leads for monitoring, analyzing and generation of reports from all transaction data across all camps located at various parts of the country. This application can be hosted on a public cloud server and can be accessed through internet using any one of the popular browsers. The following are the functionalities of this server side application:
1. Log-in screen: Only authorized users all allowed access into the system as shown in Figure 6.
2.Dashboard: Authorized users can instantly get to know the activity in the last 24 hours across all camps in this dashboard. The following is a screenshot of the dashboard.
3.Viewing all transactions data from various camps spread across the country (or anywhere in the world).
A sample image of the vehicle Data time stamp is as shown below:
The Mobile application is designed for ease of use, user-friendliness and is very intuitive with relevant graphic images and screen navigation with menu options, access control permissions and automatic uploading whenever connectivity is available. It is designed for minimal human intervention and ensures that accurate and relevant data is captured as fast as possible.
Comprehensive reports not only allow the executive management to track and monitor the material movement across all camps through intuitive dashboard, but also help them identify discrepancies and abnormal activity almost immediately. Alerts can also be configured and activated to take instant action on any abnormal activity. These reports are most valuable in detecting any kind of loss and can save crores of rupees for the Company.
Triband Systech Private Limited is founded by former IIT, ISB and Finance professionals with over 80 man years of experience in the IT space. We provide Mobile Business Advantage to businesses across verticals (Infrastructure, Logistics, Utilities, eCommerce, etc) by providing the following quality services:
These solutions are aimed at tracking and optimizing any business process or activity spread across various geographies thereby allowing near real-time monitoring of operations. This results in not only major savings in time, material and management but can also be used to significantly optimize operations through analysis of the data collected.