If you’re the guy looking at the bottom line, then you know: replacing tools is frustrating, expensive, and disruptive to the flow of operations. The impact is real: delayed jobs (from not having required tools onsite); lost hours (looking for missing tools); and wasted money (buying replacements). The issue of missing or unaccounted-for tools is no longer just an inconvenience. It’s crippling our construction operations.
We say, Enough, already. (And we’re not alone.) Leading contractors of all sizes are looking at new, modern ways to manage their tool inventories and improve operations.
So, what about these “modern” tool management systems? Well, they’re not just fancier spreadsheets. The most effective tool trackers can be deployed easily as an “app” on your field team’s smartphones and tablets, and they include 3 key elements:
You’ve got to know what you have in order to protect it. Think about it: if the company doesn’t bother to keep a list of what it owns, then why should employees worry whether the tools are returned to where they belong? This attitude is often at the heart of why tools “disappear.”
Assigning tool responsibility (and building accountability) is critical to successful tool management and tracking. But this extends beyond signing out a tool when it leaves the warehouse. Transferring responsibility when a tool moves from person to person in the field is where the old systems fail. Field transfers of responsibility are critical because this is where tools go missing. A modern system enables field workers to transfer responsibility for a tool by simply using their phones. Quick and easy transfers keep accountability high (and confusion low) even as tools move from person to person.
Field workers need an easy way to search for a tool and see who has what they need. Office workers need an easy way to track where every tool is and who is currently responsible for each. A modern tool tracking system allows field personnel to check tool information and assignments with phone barcode scanning. This kind of visibility is an operational dream, saving time and money by providing consistent information about where tools are located and reducing job delays by allowing everyone to plan better.
Truly, enough is enough. Enough of the wasteful replacements, maddening searches, and leaky bottom line. According to ENR, as early as 2003, leading edge contractors were “recognizing the value of trying harder to hold onto tools previously treated as more disposable assets.” As you’re well aware, this has only grown more necessary and urgent over the past fourteen years, but thankfully, modern tool tracking systems have made the task of tracking tools and assigning accountability easier than ever before.