Information Technology: Tracking System Fights Dirt Theft (8/27/2001)


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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

BAR CODING
Tracking System Fights Dirt Theft (8/27/2001)

A Florida civil engineer has devised a system that uses data chips and bar codes to track the delivery of fill, with the goal of faster, more accurate accounting and theft prevention.
ENR35D827O1.jpg
(Photo courtesy of Bishop & Buttrey, Inc.)

     Developer Frank Nicotera, who applied for a patent June 29, says the system replaces traditional three-copy load-tickets with a single, bar coded slip and a chip on the truck's rearview mirror. Under the old system, contractors save tickets collected from drivers dropping fill to match against invoices from quarries and haulers. Nicotera says it was when he was tapped to be project manager on an airport job with 4 million cu yd of muck and fill that he decided to invent a system to automate accounting for the loads.
ENR35C82701.jpg
(Photo courtesy of Bishop & Buttrey, Inc.)

     Nicotera now is president of New Tampa Computer Solutions Inc., which sells the Data Track System. It uses scanners at the quarry to pick up the truck's chip data, ticket bar code and record a time-stamped description of the load. At the jobsite, a handheld device both swipes the ticket bar code and reads the chip on the truck. Software processes the information for invoicing.
     "Its fantastic," says Cynthia Jackson, secretary and co-owner of C&M Trucking, Lake Mary, Fla., which has10 trucks, plus more than 40 independent haulers running 25 loads a day. "It's like going to the grocery store and the girl scans everything in, and that's all there is to it—as opposed to keypunching 1,400 to 1,500 numbers daily. It eliminates error, and it eliminates a lot of things that guys try to pull on you out in the field," she says. Information on the system is at www.keepontracking.com.


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