Materials tracking by means of auto-identification technologies has been limited to the semi-Automation of onsite materials management. Thus, an opportunity to leverage the use of identification and information technologies by materials vendors and suppliers, i.e., upstream materials tracking, is yet to be explored. In response, this study aims at characterizing the unexplored facet of upstream tracking by vendors and suppliers and explaining its barriers and drivers. A survey instrument was designed to determine the current state of materials tracking readiness, digitization barriers, and opportunities. In total, 50 survey responses were obtained. In addition, remarkable case studies on upstream tracking were characterized through the qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews with a pre-qualified sample of 13 subject matter experts. Drivers, benefits, and barriers associated with upstream tracking were identified and characterized. For example, a lack of clear return on investment stands a prevailing barrier against the adoption of upstream tracking at every key stakeholder organization, i.e., owners, contractors, and vendors/suppliers. In addition, a disassociation between the fabrication or manufacturing information status of a material component and the physical tracking of such component was characterized as a fundamental difference from onsite tracking practices.