Tagging & Verification Retail Pilot
Mobile Maximo RFID Implementation
Date: 18 March 05
1. ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................3
2. PROJECT GOAL.............................................................................................................5
3. PILOT OVERVIEW........................................................................................................7
4. PROCESS OUTLINE......................................................................................................8
5. TECHNOLOGY OUTLINE..........................................................................................12
7. PILOT GAPS.................................................................................................................18
9. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND FURTHER INFORMATION.................................20
10. APPENDIX 1 - APPLICATION SCREENSHOTS....................................................21
Can the use of mobile auto identification technologies solve the asset compliance challenges that
the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act requires?
Most observers would agree that the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act is the single most important
piece of legislation affecting corporate governance, financial disclosure and the practice of public
accounting since the US securities laws of the early 1930s. In July 2002, the United States
Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act into law.
The act was primarily designed to restore investor confidence following well-publicised
bankruptcies that brought chief executives, audit committees, and the independent auditors
under heavy scrutiny. The act is applicable to all publicly registered companies under the
jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission. UK companies with a US listing, such as
BP, are also subject to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
From an asset management viewpoint, BP needs to answer the following questions satisfactorily
in order to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act:
1. Do you have an accurate inventory of all your physical and intangible assets?
2. Have you reconciled asset data from different systems?
3. Do you have a full history and audit trail of all Asset Transactions?
4. Do processes exist to detect unauthorised Acquisitions, Disposals and Transfers?
It is apparent that asset verification projects will play critical roles in addressing these
requirements for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. However what about sustainability? What
about the concept of using a mobile application together with Radio Frequency
Identification (RFID) tags as the basis for ongoing sustainability? BP Africa, the
Marketing Downstream business stretching from South Africa to Tanzania recently tested such a
BP Africa holds an extensive range of assets valued at approximately $700 million. In order to
provide legal compliance, safety assurance and the effective management of these assets, the
business unit needs to know: “What assets do we currently have? Where are these
assets located? How are these assets changing over time? “
Currently it is unable to do this in a standardised and consistent manner because of the problems
o Asset data is duplicated across several systems.
o Data held on one system is not made available to other systems.
o Reports are drawn from various sources and are inconsistent.
o No systemized verification exercises having taken place since 2000.
These problems have resulted in fundamental control weaknesses in the management of the
fixed asset base which needs to be corrected in order to comply with the requirements within the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which state that BP needs to:
o Ensure that it has the correct asset management policies and
procedures in place.
o Ensure that its assets are to be properly labeled and classified.
o Ensure that asset data from different systems is reconciled.
o Ensure that a full history and audit trail of all asset transactions is in
o And to ensure its assets are secure.
Hence it has begun work on a comprehensive Asset Tagging and Verification project, the
objective of which is to create an accurate and verified record of fixed assets with significantly
more detail than the existing financial system is able to provide.
In order to add value a whole new approach to verifying, tagging and managing a fixed
asset base of approximately 180,000 items has been adopted. This approach utilizes
Automatic Identification, (Auto-ID) which is the broad term given to a host of technologies
that are used to help machines identify objects automatically.
By making use of this type of technology, the identification of assets, the capture of information
about them and the mechanisms of getting this data into a computer system(s) without having
employees type it in, will ultimately result in increased efficiency, reduced data entry errors and
will ensure that asset registers are easily kept up to date.
Diagram1: Illustration of Asset Tagging Technology
The project’s goal has been to find that affordable, accurate and flexible method for tracking
assets (and their condition) anywhere a communications link exists, which will result in a verified
record of fixed assets. In addition to the implementation of a mobile Asset Care solution that
ensures that a higher level of solution sustainability will exist once the verification exercise is
The first phase of this process was concluded with the initial investment in the Maximo Enterprise
Asset Management solution. Its build saw the creation of a series of generic placeholders that the
“real” asset data, which, once collected, will replace, as illustrated in diagram 2.
Diagram 2 – Generic Asset Placeholders in Maximo
Before conducting a project of this scale it was seen as prudent to first begin with a pilot before
emulating the process throughout the region.
The key objective of the pilot was to demonstrate how assets could be verified; and
how asset tracking could be accomplished via a mobile asset care solution utilising
the applicable auto id and mobile technologies.
In addition the pilot aimed to:
o Determine appropriate workflow for the integration of Asset Care;
o Determine value of tagging for reducing cost associated with Asset Churn;
o Determine most appropriate forms of tagging;
o Determine infrastructure needs (e.g. savant, middleware and Maximo integration);
o Determine data flow requirements;
o And to determine a cost model for asset tagging.
While the project’s overall scope covers the Retail, Commercial and Industrial (C&I) and Logistics
businesses in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania
excluding Zimbabwe, the pilot was conducted in Cape Town, South Africa and it’s scope
included the following:
o In Scope
Completely tag and record asset data at two full convenience and three fuel
The duration was to be no longer than two months
And to be concluded before year-end December 04 i.e. a project timeline of five
months with the work effort being completed Sept- Dec 04 and pilot
performance monitoring Dec -Jan 05 (two months).
o Out of Scope
Sanitising (data cleansing) of the Asset this area of work would be scoped
and designed in “Define”.
RFID will not solve bad processes but has the ability to improve those that exist even providing
the impetus for realigning these processes with an RFID benefits driven approach. The pilot
attempted to outline two key processes with this in mind:
o On site Asset Tagging and Data Collection
o Ongoing Asset Verification
Because both of these where to a large degree “new” the predominant focus of the process
mapping involved how the target audience would react to what was proposed i.e. did it fit in with
their current workload and expertise.
Page: Title: Mapping: Level: Status: Date:
5 Level A4 : Track assets To-Be 3 DONE 09/2004
Defined Processes Informed staff
Asset List Template
Communicate Job Card Safety Guidelines
Tagging Guidelines Exception Sheets
Plans Tagging Rules Data Verification Errors Handle
Deployment Schedule Wrap Up Sheet Exceptions
1 Training Schedule Connectivity Settings
Synch Guide 5
A41 Rollout Schedule
Work Order System A45 Updated
Trained contract organization.
Planning Team Trained support organization
Train Delivery BP Admin
Staff Data Capturer
New Work Order types
Tag Existing Exception Sheets
Asset Planners 3
Installation Contractors Asset Checklist
Maximo Administrators A43 Connection Settings
Mobile Support Staff Planned Branch Visit
Sales Managers Synchronization Guide
Trainers BP Admin Scanning Guide
Arrival Checklist Contractor
Asset List Data Capturer Asset List
Asset List Template
Exception Sheet Perform ongoing
Trained Sales Managers
Feedback Form tracking
Trained support organization
New Work Order types
Tagging Rules A44
Wrap Up Sheet Job Cards
Sales Manager Updated Asset List
Dealer Job Cards
Diagram 3: High Level Process Map - Click on the diagram and zoom 200
The overall process started with the communication of the project and continued through
training, initial tagging of the assets and on to the regular monthly scanning of the assets by the
sales managers (SMs). This is graphically illustrated above by diagram 3.
5.1 On Site Tagging and Data Collection
A turnkey contractor with the relevant experience and skill level was appointed to perform this
task with the aid of an internal “Assets Tagging” co-ordinator who would play a liaison role
between the role-players – Dealer; BP Sales Manager; Turnkey Contractor and Technical Back-
office. In this process the turnkey tagging contractor (In-site Info) together with BP’s project co-
o Schedule – Pilot sites.
o Confirm visits with the Dealer
o Ensure that all work done would start with the standard BP Asset Care work order
This key process is described in more detail below and illustrated in diagram 4.
asset list template
job card safety guidelines
Rollout tagging guidelines
schedule tagging rules
wrap up sheet
Prepare for site synch guide
1 job Informal feedback
BP Admin Handle
Perform Site Visit exception sheet installation
system A432F Tagged verification A434F
Asset data errors updated schedule
dealer updated guidelines
data capturer updated sales manager plan
contractor updated validation rules
forecourt map Perform weekly
colour stickers data checks
exception sheet 3
connectivity to BP A433F
Operational data store
Diagram 4: Asset Tagging Process Map - Click on the diagram and zoom 200
When the contractor arrived on site, they would be required to approach the dealer or site owner
with the work order in hand and introduce themselves. The contractor would go through a short
interview and a checklist with the dealer to understand the assets on the site. The checklist
covers items such as stolen assets, broken equipment, third party equipment (e.g. Coke
sponsored fridges) and dealer owned equipment.
Regardless of ownership each asset is tagged and recorded. To minimise the disruption on site
the process recommended that the contractor walk around the site with the dealer and identify
each asset and its owner individually. The contractor could use coloured stickers to mark
ownership (e.g. green=BP, red=third party, blue=dealer, white=unknown, etc.) during the site
Using the template document that describes the assets that are typically found on the site and
which BP are interested in tagging. All assets whether they are owned by BP, the dealer or a
third party are to be tagged. BP is responsible for the safety of its sites and any third party
equipment must conform to BP’s Health and Safety tracking requirements. Certain fixed assets
(as specified by the catalogue list) such as the canopy or coldroom which are high value, are not
tagged because their status is unlikely to change. Whether assets are tagged or not their static
and performance data is collected for analysis in the back office.
Once the assets have been identified and marked, the contractor can begin to tag and record
each asset. When the tagging is complete, the contractor will confirm the asset list with the
dealer and get signoff of the work order.
Finally, the contractor will need to synchronise the handheld to return the captured asset
information back to BP. Any paper forms, such as exception sheets or insurance records (in the
case of stolen assets) will either be faxed for mailed back to BP.
5.2 On-Going Scanning
The Sales Manager (SM) manages the relationship between the business and the Dealer as part
of their normal management activities they perform regular visits to “their” sites. Part of their
responsibility is the maintenance of the asset list, which forms part of the lease agreement
between the Dealer and BP.
The SM would still do their normal sales-related activities at the branch as before with the
addition of recording of the existing assets on site. They would thus be doing the
continuous monitoring of the state of the assets as they visit each branch at least
once a quarter as part of their regular sales activities. The intention is to simplify the asset
recording process and with the aid of the RFID technology to minimise the amount of disruption
to the Sales Managers job (15-30 minutes extra).
In preparation for their visit, the Sales Manager would connect to BP and download the current
asset list from the server to the handheld. They should also download the Business Objects (Data
Warehousing Software) report for a copy of the latest outstanding job cards for the site. These
two lists should be reviewed in preparation for the visit.
At the end of the visit, the Sales Manager will record any exceptions that were discovered as
described in the scanning guidelines document. They would also create any new work requests,
either by calling in to the call center or directly on the handheld (when this service is available).
Once the visit has been completed they would synchronize the handheld with the BP server when
they connected to the BP LAN.
Diagram 5: Swim lane View of the Verification Process Map - Click on the diagram and zoom 200
asset scanning guide
asset list job cards
scan and record scan out branch
scan in branch tag
perform discrepancies with
asset review dealer
feedback form exception report
In an effort to define the architecture for the project, three solution proposals where requested
and submitted by:
o SAIC and
These proposals (Technical Infrastructure Plans) were submitted in relation to the pilot phase of
the project with the expectation that the solution piloted would have a high degree of fit for the
Following an initial one-day workshop held in London (July 04), a more comprehensive two-day
workshop was held in Cape Town (Sept 04). IBM and SAIC were present but not Syclo who were
briefed by Brian O’Regan (INTEL) in his capacity as Technical Advisor to the project.
6.1 Evaluation Format
As part of the workshop a matrix of key issues was developed which formed the basis for the
evaluation. These included:
o Tag suitability
o Support network
o Standards compliance
o Solution component availability
o Solution flexibility; compatibility and integration
Two issues, Cost and Partnership Aspects which were not covered in the technical evaluation
were dealt with by the selection panel.
6.2 Overall Conclusions
On purely technical merits, it was concluded that any of the three proposals would have
supported the business need. Implicit in the evaluation was however, a reference to time as per
the project Terms of Reference that stated that the pilot would be completed by end-2004.
In this regard the Syclo option provided the most immediately available solution. The only
potential downside to this solution was a considerable degree of “lock-in”. The Syclo solution was
the least flexible in terms of application integration and potential development.
If the decision horizon was strategic rather than tactical, then either the SAIC or the IBM solution
became more attractive. Differentiating between these two would need to be made within a
broader context and as part of a separate evaluation.
6.3 Syclo Back-End Solution
Diagram 6: Syclo Back-end Technical Solution
The backend solution comprised of:
o Audit and Work Order Application: Syclo (Mobile Maximo)
o Front-End application middleware: Agentry
o Back-end Application (Maximo) interface: Agentry.
Agentry is the underlying architecture that supports these applications. It has a GUI based
development environment that allows for rapid modifications of base screens and business logic;
it essentially serves as the “middleware” solution onto which the Maximo Mobile Suite and RFID
integration has been built.
Once the backend architecture was in place attention was then given to getting the front-end
6.4 Front End Technical Solution
The following technical selections where made with regard to getting the front end correct.
TAGS Factors Piloted Type
Low Frequency Successfully used in LPG Yes Low Frequency 30mm
(134 Mhz) pilot in Holland; Disk Transponder
Robust; Manufactured by Texas
Very Stable; Instruments (RI-TRP-R9QL)
Short Read Range Operating frequency of 134.2
Est. read range < 60 mm
Typical read time : 70ms
Dimensions : 29.4 mm x 8.4
Weight : 8 gram
Middle hole allows tag to be
High Frequency Good tactical fit Yes High Frequency
(13.56 Mhz) Read range 0.5 -1.0 m 13.56MHz “Laundry”
Available Manufactured by Texas
Compatible with ISO15693
standard for 13.56MHz tags
Est. read range 12-14mm
(on a steel structure with
3mm adhesive backing)
Data retention time: more
than 10 years
Dimensions: 22 mm x 3 mm
Weight: 1.6 gram
Ultra HF (913 Potentially the best strategic No
Mhz) fit but 915Mhz band is
currently not available in
RFID Factors Piloted Type
TSL 134 Mhz Rugged Yes RFID Wireless Bluetooth
“puck” Size of a matchbox handheld tag scanner
ATEX 1 Operates on both 134.2 kHz
and 13.56 MHz
Supplied by Technology
Solutions UK Limited
Dimensions: 56 x 41 x 21
Intrinsically safe for use on
the forecourt - ATEX 1
Bluetooth range: 10 meters
TSL 13.56 Mhz Rugged Yes Same as above.
“puck” Size of a matchbox
HANDHELDS Factors Piloted Type
Symbol MC 9000 Rugged No Rejected because it was not
Bluetooth end user friendly.
Very Industrial and
Symbol PPT Good tactical fit Yes Symbol PPT 8800 Series
8860 Rugged Manufactured by Symbol
WLAN but no GPRS Dimensions 33 H x 80 W x
Safe for use on forecourt 146 L (mm)
Nice look and feel Weight (with wireless lan):
Display: TFT-LCD, 65K
Intel XScale 300/400 MHz
Windows Mobile 2003
Memory: 32Mb / 64Mb RAM
Serial, USB and IrDA
IPAQ 6340 Good strategic fit No Not safe for use on the
Not rugged (two screens forecourt
went down in less than two Very fragile.
Not safe for use on the
Telephone; GPRS; Bluetooth
Nice look and feel
Table 1: Front end Technology Selections
When all the components were pieced together this is what the front-end technical solution
ct to B
st i t y
in n e c
Diagram 7: integrated Front-end Technical Solution
The development of capabilities in a consistent and standardised way did not occur because both
the process and technology solutions where being developed in parallel and at a very high rate.
The resultant training was often via show and tell; learning by playing and participating; some
trial and error and via open channels of communication. As a result much of the time was spent
in trying to design the potential training templates that would be needed rather than formally
presenting specific courses to the respective audiences, this was a restriction encountered as a
result of a tight timeline and a global project team who often had other project commitments.
i n or
oj CT n ng
d m act
Se le S ept (e
Pr l D Co nti
C S y C on
ca ion cou
ax an an
F o or M po
M ten Pl
Lo lat c
I n c e nt
C mo ce
al & A
Tr c t
Introduction to what is being done
Kick-off and why. How the rollout will take
communication x x x x x x x x x x x x x x place
The process by which the
Installation Process x x x x x x x installations will be done at the sites
The process by which sales
Ongoing Scan manager staff will do the ongoing
Process x x x x x x x x x x x x scanning
The schedule by which the
High level process x x x x x x x x x x x x x installation will be done
The schedule by which the
Install Schedule x x x x x x x x x installation will be done
MIS Summary reports of the results
Results of install x x x x x x x of the installation
Results of install (per MIS Summary reports of the results
branch) x x x of the installation per branch
Results of install MIS Exception reports of the results
(exceptions) x x x x x x x x x x x of the installation per branch
Results of ongoing MIS Exception reports of the
scan (exceptions) x x x x x x x x x x ongoing scanning per branch
How and where to apply tags to
Tagging x x equipment
How to categorize equipment in
Categorising x x x x x Maximo heirarchy
How to use the handheld
HH application x x x x x application
How to synchronise with the
Sync'ing device x x x x x handheld
The information going into
Data transmit x x x x x x Maximo
Diagram 8: Training and Communication Plan Summary
The pilot produced the following GAPs:
No TECHNOLOGY GAP IMPACT FIX/MITIGATION
8.1 Handheld battery life LOW Double size battery; Car Charger;
approximately three-four hours. Additional Batteries to be carried by
8.2 Battery life of the “puck” LOW Battery should last approximately 16
hours. No power indicator but can be
recharged using a Nokia Cellphone
charger. Additional pucks to be
carried and investigate a non blue-
8.3 No Reads of Low Frequency Tags LOW High Frequency tags more
off metal surfaces. appropriate and will be used for the
8.4 Partial Reads of High Frequency HIGH Investigate and test a tag with a
Tags off metal surfaces. plastic backing which will work in this
8.5 Application enhancements MEDIUM Minimal, involved reworking some of
the data templates and embedding
the application into the PDA RAM, so
that it would auto install if the
battery went down.
No PROCESS GAP IMPACT FIX/MITIGATION
8.6 Process conformance by Asset MEDIUM Once technical solution is robust and
Tagging Contractor and SMs where tags are giving 100% read. Process
minimal. training will formally be given to all
No PEOPLE GAP IMPACT FIX/MITIGATION
8.7 Capability with regard to use of HIGH Proper training material has been
the handheld. developed to close this GAP. It deals
with wider topics not just the use of
8.8 Support for Handheld and HIGH Process and subsequent agreements/
Application. contracts will need to be in place
prior to a full roll-out.
The use of RFID technology on the Asset Tagging and Verification pilot provided enough
evidence that increased RFID network connectivity to a broad range of high value assets
translates to better control and management and ultimately more efficient asset tracking.
Once the GAPs have been closed the pilot goes a long way to satisfying the SOX requirements
with regard to asset management. The use of RFID will enable the Business Unit to improve its
sensing capabilities within the technology’s actual limitations as well as the business readiness.
It should be noted that the RFID will not make bad Asset Management processes better, or
miraculously clean bad data in the Asset Register, but with the correct upskilling of the user base
will make a good practice better and allow for more accurate asset management at far less cost
Looking forward the Model now offers the BU a platform – a strong electronic back-bone - to
develop its asset verification and tagging strategy. The era of using spreadsheets and bar-coding
to control assets over a wide and diverse area, will soon be over for complex, asset intensive,
Business Units within the Group, and with an asset base of $8bn, it is vital that BP begins using
auto identification technology to extract value, and to extend the useful and safe life of its assets.
9.ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND FURTHER INFORMATION
This paper was written by Robin Golding (BP Assets Project Manager, BP Africa), David Mooney
(IBM Business Consulting Services), Brian o’ Reagan (Intel, Solutions Architect) and Neil McKinley
With assistance from Curt Smith (BP US Application Director, CTO); James Neophytou (IBM
Business Consulting Services), Nick Waller (SAIC Business Consulting Services), David Evans
(TSL), Tom Altergott (Syclo) and Emily Woffod (IT Business Consultant/Project Manager).
For further information on the project please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
10.APPENDIX 1 - APPLICATION SCREENSHOTS
Logging On Screen Pilot Sites with RFID tag type
Establishing the bluetooth connection Scanning the tag and capturing other
information from drop down lists.
Equipment details and specifications Setting up two blue tooth readers using the