Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Sep 24, 2005
Corporate - Announcements
ONGC to barcode all its assets `First of its kind in non-retail sector'
Mumbai , Sept. 23
OIL & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is finalising a project for barcoding every item of its assets every component that will go into its rigs, every spare and every item which is under the "expired" list in an exercise that will be the largest of its kind in the domestic non-retail corporate industry.
ONGC is a mature user of IT, said a senior ONGC official involved in the barcoding exercise. The project itself became necessary when the company decided to deploy SAP, the Enterprise Resource Planning project with SAP itself being one of the largest such projects in the country, the contract amounting to Rs 95 crore.
The company is already using barcoding in a limited way, the system having been developed by CMC Ltd and the company's own online Integrated Materials Management System (IMMS) department.
This pilot project in the Mumbai region covered select items such as capital items, drill bits, and the like. It was planned to extend the system to physical stores all over the country covering 60 receipt and 120 stock points, then offshore locations and capital items.
This is what led to the new project that will now cover every single item of ONGC's assets, said the senior ONGC official. Over 2.8 lakh unique codes will be required at ONGC, with the number of items to be barcoded running into several crores, he said.
The barcoding contract whose value was not disclosed is being given to a consortium of three companies, one of them Indian. "It would be the biggest contract from the non-retail corporate sector (the army is a very big user of barcoding), and is a good case for Indian industry to follow," said Mr Ravi Mathur, CEO of EPC Global India, which helps Indian companies to incorporate globally accepted standards for barcoding, RFID (radio frequency identification), and the like.
ONGC's barcoding which is based on Uniform Product codes based on EAN standards is all the more meaningful in the Indian context, he said. This is because labs working on standards are trying to promote EAN as a worldwide standard so that products tagged by this kind of barcoding can be uniquely identified anywhere in the world.
At present, the data entry and stocktaking is done manually at ONGC, and takes up several man hours. Barcoding ensures incomparable speed in this exercise.
In addition, the barcoding will also contain information on the project, supplier name, bin number and the like, so that issue of items and transaction become faster and easier without one having to punch in numbers every time, said the senior official with ONGC.
It is only recently that the non-retail industry has started to consider barcoding for materials and inventory management, he said.
ONGC has a huge establishment in terms of capital goods, inventories and spare parts, said the senior official. Each of these items has a unique code number for identification. Currently physical tags are attached or painted on to these items. Barcoding would do away with the need for this physical exercise, which not only time consuming but also prone to error.
Barcoding would ensure faster data capture, saving time and costs. It would also prevent the wrong issue of material, such as use of items beyond their life-expiry.
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