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QR technology: asset and process management

18.11.2021

QR (Quick Response) technology allows you to create a code that contains from 1 to 2000 encrypted characters. This can be not only textual information, but also geographic coordinates, visual content, an application link, or a dynamic URL.

Originally QR codes were used for a limited range of technological tasks. That all changed in 2017, when Apple updated its mobile operating system to iOS 11. Since then, scanning QR with a smartphone camera has become commonplace.

Ease and ubiquity of use, combined with high ROI, have made the technology popular in the commercial space. Companies simply could not ignore the rise in client requests, which according to Juniper Research will amount to 1 billion QR-enabled devices by 2022.

The technology is also widely used in the industrial sector. The growing number of digital processes in manufacturing has led to an increase in the amount of information processed. And engineers, marketers, maintenance and planners do not always have quick access to this data.

Tagging assets, components and products with QR codes has solved this problem. And it has become an effective solution for optimizing various areas of management – from creating supply chains to energy management.

Let’s consider some areas in which the use of QR codes provides the maximum effect.

Asset Management

Each piece of equipment in the enterprise can be assigned a unique identifier. It will store information about an asset throughout its lifecycle, simplifying processes for tracking, deploying, upgrading and replacing.

At any time, an engineer of the enterprise can get access to drawings, technical documentation, data tables. An ordinary smartphone is enough for scanning, which significantly speeds up the process of obtaining relevant data for analytics.

The equipment QR-code may contain geolocation and nomenclature data, commissioning date and service history, performance and consumption parameters. The nature of the data depends on the global strategy of the enterprise and its dynamic KPIs. And although the printed QR code will remain unchanged, its content can be updated remotely using special software.

Monitoring of operations

The QR code is directly connected with its Digital Twins, which can be not only a single piece of equipment, but also a whole chain of operations. Asset tracking and management technologies enable real-time monitoring of every step of the workflow. She also analyzes the role of individual factors in creating economic value for an enterprise.

QR codes and other quick access tools are already being used today to optimize processes that are most sensitive to data processing speed. Creating dynamic work orders, re-planning production, scheduling preventive maintenance, assessing equipment utilization – there are many examples.
The next logical step is the use of tracking technologies to create global control systems with minimal human participation. QR technology is the best suited for these purposes, since it is combined with automation tools of the Industry 4.0 class.
SmartEAM already has experience in creating smart systems capable of offline monitoring and optimization of business processes in enterprises of various industries.

Needs Analysis

The maintenance and repair industry is arguably the biggest beneficiary of tracking systems. This solution permanently relieves the MRO service from the tedious manual check of the status of each individual piece of equipment.
A simple scan of the QR code provides access to a list of active work orders and downtime history, provides information about the current technical condition of the asset and the needs for components.

The reliability engineer, having received this information, will quickly restore the production line to operability. An employee of the supply service will promptly create a request for spare parts. The MRO analyst will be able to accurately calculate the profitability of repair or replacement of equipment. And a specialist in the planning department will receive objective data to assess the risks from the decommissioning of an asset.
The QR code can also be used to monitor resource requirements and the environmental performance of production equipment. And this is the current trend for the next 10 years.

Improved coordination

Today in the industry there is a growing demand for digital solutions to create an ecosystem where manufacturers, consumers of their products and suppliers of resources can interact.

Tracking technologies, in combination with IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) systems, could become an effective tool for the exchange of corporate data. The QR code allows you to automatically receive orders from retailers, generate resource requests, manage a spare parts warehouse, coordinate logistics operations, create supply chains and collect data on customer experience. This simple and inexpensive technology can be a powerful driver for streamlining end-to-end business processes.

How it works: the INTERPIPE case

The pipe-and-wheel holding INTERPIPE can be considered a successful example of using QR codes to optimize business processes. An ERP system is used at the company’s factories to track the status of an order at all stages of execution – from casting of blanks to shipment to the client.
Product labeling is carried out automatically, and data for QR codes are generated individually – depending on technological standards and customer requirements. Detailed information on each order can be obtained using a regular smartphone.
Such optimization not only simplifies the organization of production and logistics processes, but also ensures the success of the Ukrainian holding on the world market – with high competition and stricter business standards.

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