Dating on LinkedIn (My LinkedIn amazements-2nd part)

How to “tag” (or identify) pieces of heavy outdoor equipment?

On this rather technical question I posted on LinkedIn, I was quite surprised to get a dating request (see below).

LinkedIn’s webmaster was quick to remove it, but here below you will find a copy of the automatically generated Q&A email (I replaced her real name by MXXXB).

It was my first time I got into in contact with such spam on LinkedIn. If she is real, I hope this lady will find her true love in a near future, but I doubt LinkedIn is the right place to search, but heck!, who knows…?

From: [] On Behalf Of MXXXB (LinkedIn Answers)
Sent: mercredi 18 avril 2012 0:14
To: Martin van Wunnik
Subject: RE: How to “tag” (or identify) pieces of heavy outdoor equipment?

MXXXB wrote:

hiPrivate Note:
my dear, i am well pleased to contact you on my search for relationship in this date site. To me age, distance, race and color do not matter, rather what i value most is the
understanding and love that will exist between us. So in a special manner i
will like to further communication with you for us to know each other well, if
you share the same view with me you can reach me through my personal email
address ( ) try to tell me more about you, in reply i will tell you more about myself with my picture .I am looking forward to read
from you.Yours new friend.MXXXB

Question Details:
How to “tag” (or identify) pieces of heavy outdoor equipment?Some specific companies (e.g. construction, cranes, dredging) have a substantial number of large to very large pieces of heavy equipment scattered around the world, all requiring maintenance and spares.This (mostly steel/metal) equipment lies outdoors and is treated quite roughly by weather conditions, ranging from very hot (say African desert) to bitter cold (think Siberia or Antartica), through >90% humidity levels and salty waters.I am looking for suggestions and tips how to easily and cheaply “tag” (or identify) every single piece of equipment and spare.Such identification needs to be large in size to be quickly visible (some piece are 10 to 15m long) and should thus be able to withstand rough conditions.The purpose is to greatly help the inventory management and reduce the administrative labour for the mobilisation of equipment to the next work site.Thank you.MartinP.S. I thought of laser-cutting a serial number on every single piece but am unsure about its application (how to do it for local purchases?) and cost-effectiveness.

On 4/15/12 8:07 PM, Martin van Wunnik added the following clarification:
Dear All,
First of all, thank you very much for your insights.

I should have clarified that I was looking for a “human” readable tag (but that might change-see below).

Paint could indeed be an option, and is surely interesting from a local sourcing perspective, but I am afraid that it will not work in all cases (think of, figure of speech, an airplane, or graffiti-wall for that matter, digging in and out the sand a zillion times, and afterwards ‘flying’ several hours underwater, sea water that is).

When moving equipment from one work site to another, after several months or even years of heavy usage, it is not unusual to fully repaint it in its basic color (be it yellow or bleu for example).

Both the etched 3D bar code, readable with a multi-wavelength scanner, and the engraved/etched strips, welded or riveted into position look quite interesting to me (similar for the metal plate).

Currently this inventory management/asset registration is done with best-possible tagging methods, in some cases indeed painted (but with some flaws, see above) or sometimes indeed engraved (but no common rule where & how). Brand new equipment, going through the main warehouse, has a readable identification, exact warehouse location and full ERP registration at the headquarters, but that’s thus only for brand new equipment.

Where it slightly goes haywire is once such new equipment has left the main warehouse…
I know it sounds silly, but that quite essential administrative/registration work is sort of lost when working at a work site on the other side of the earth. During months or years everything is done by the local team to get the operational work done, with, rightly or wrongly, a minimum of overhead registration. For your information, on-site presence is always available with the equipment I am discussing here (construction, dredging, cranes rental, etc).

So, when mobilizing equipment from one work site to the next, local administrative reasons (not enough experienced human resources allocated to that part of the job) prevent us from making the correct demobilization lists. At that moment, you sent out staff to go through the entire work site (can be several square kilometers large for the big sites), listing and defining the origins of every piece of useable equipment (remember, some of it came directly from the headquarters, some from previous work sites and some were locally purchased). A typical demobilization period can last anything between one or two weeks, up to several months for larger work sites

At first sight, the required investment for a world-wide GPS tracking looks to be too high. However, and I fully agree with you, we need to take into account the lost-opportunity charges (i.e. sending extra shipments of new material from the headquarters whereas it could have been provided by a closed work site “next door”).

I could be wrong in the GPS investment required (I have no clue what figure we are talking about – does it really work everywhere on the world (Sahara?), does it work at sea (Sakhalin?), etc…)

My idea at first was not to automate everything, but only to clearly identify. The tags do not need to be visible from 100 feet, but should be easily readable from, say, 2 meters away. Think of large pieces of equipment that cannot be rolled-over to check their barcode. Therefore, the above mentioned etched 3D bar code and the engraved/etched strips appear to be an interesting path for me to further investigate.

I hope I managed to clarify my Question a bit.

Again, my sincere thanks to you all for your time and suggestions.
Do not hesitate to further comment.


View question (12 answers) – Respond to MXXXB – Close this Question

LinkedIn Answers

View question
(12 answers)

Respond to MXXXB

Close this Question