What’s the beacon ROI? Building the business case for a beacon-enabled workplace

Michael Carne /

Enterprise clients often ask how they justify the expense of implementing a beacon (or ibeacon) program to peers and management. While it is difficult to provide a proscriptive guide, some common themes have emerged from clients that have successfully deployed Lighthouse.

1. Calculate time wasted finding people or assets

Lighthouse enables businesses to visualize their assets and people in real time on a live map. This means managers and staff can instantly locate the required person, or asset within their facility.

The expense of this activity can be calculated in two dimensions. First, businesses estimate the time lost while employees search for the required asset or individual. Second, businesses calculate the over purchase of equipment that has been required to mitigate for their employee’s running around trying to find a spare asset.

2. List the activities that require re-entry of data

Lighthouse prompts employees to enter data right at the point of discovery. For example: technicians, janitors and maintenance personnel can be pushed forms to capture data related to a specific task and location (e.g. how many toilet rolls required in bathroom 4H? what maintenance is required for HVAC system 301?).

Calculating this expense may be determined by estimating the amount of data lost/omitted, then extrapolating the consequent cost associated. For instance, did this result in rework, or did the missing data lead to another problem or cost. In addition, time needed to transcribe data captured in the field should also be included.

3. Evaluate legal and safety risks mitigated

Several industries are bound by contractual, location specific SLAs or obligations that potentially carry legal or safety risks. For instance: janitorial contracts often include contractual cycle times to prevent slip and fall litigation (see example video here). Similarly, dangerous facilities and clean room managers need to know exactly who enters a given room or area to ensure a site is safe and secure.

As Lighthouse enables you to track who enters a given area at any point in time (via a live map or by capturing historical data as a point of record), these risks can be monitored and managed. While calculating this expense is difficult, one way is work with your insurance providers to determine how this new capability can drive down your premiums.

4. Estimate efficiency gains

Lighthouse enables you to create detailed analytics on ground operations. It may be used to measure cycle times between tasks (e.g. time to move from one location to another), identify underutilized spaces (e.g. north wing is never used), or accelerate commencement of dependent tasks (e.g. trigger order of new parts when fault discovered at location).

Just like analytics captured in other areas of your business, improved understanding of ground operations will improve oversight and accountability for your costs. Estimating these improvements typically requires the use of an analogous proxy. For example, you could look to improvement results from previous time and motion studies, or look to gains from other business units reliant on detailed analytics (e.g. call centers, digital channels, fulfillment teams etc).

5. Determine the activities and technologies replaced

Finally, while beacons may be an emerging technology, it is often replacing existing and expensive practices and/or technology. Whether it is replacing paper documentation, site punch cards, check-in/check-out procedures or RFID readers, there is typically a host of activities replaced and improved. This can enable a straight-line comparison of existing and future costs – providing greater assurance of the relative ROI from the investment.

If you need help understanding how Lighthouse can improve your workplace, or developing a business case for your colleagues, Contact Us.