If you’re a one-man show, then tracking tools is just a matter of keeping the shed and the truck organized — and remembering which neighbor borrowed the drill (and that’s tough enough). But if you’ve got multiple jobsites manned by multiple field teams — you’ve got yourself a cluster– well, you know. Tracking tools and being able to locate your tools fast is essential to any business.
If you’ve taken steps to get organized, then at a minimum, you at least know what tools and equipment you have. Maybe you were even surprised at the amount of inventory you actually own. Over time, companies often accumulate tools that have a useful life well past the job for which they were originally purchased. This annual spend on tools builds an extremely valuable inventory – if you are able to retain the tools year after year. But, for many mid-size contractors, this tool inventory is lightly managed and lightly tracked — yet is worth thousands to the business.
According to Modern Contractor Solutions, “More than $1 billion in valuable tools, commodities, and consumables are lost each year.”
Okay, that’s informative (and depressing) enough. You’re not a one-man show and this has actually become one huge tool tracking cluster: so how the hell are you supposed to actually retain these valuable tools year after year? Or at least avoid purchasing duplicates when you have the tools and just don’t know it?
As we’ve mentioned before, start by organizing a tool inventory. Then, after identifying what you currently have, establish a way to reliably and quickly find those tools in the field. Here’s what to focus on:
Find Tools Fast
1. Idle Inventory
Without a doubt, you have tools sitting idle. Do you know which tools, though? And on which jobsites? Figure out not only what tools you have, but what tools are idle (and thus, available for use elsewhere).
2. Borrow vs. Buy
Okay, so you know which tools are idle. You know where your tools are (at least on the day you last checked). Do your field teams know what is available? (And where?) You want to make it easy for your people in the field to know what is available so they borrow more and buy less.
3. Lose the Lag
If your workers have access to the tool tracker system, then tools can move from person to person, increasing the speed of getting them to where they’re needed. Avoid job slow-downs by making it easy for field teams to find what they need: peer to peer sharing is the most efficient way to move tools around the field.
Thankfully, keeping your field teams in the know is much simpler than you might think. Modern technology allows field personnel to check tool info and assignments with barcode scanning on their phones. So, whatever tool tracking process you’re considering, be sure your tool tracker emphasizes your field teams’ ability to know what is available and to find it fast.
To learn more about tool tracking technology that helps you and your field personnel easily organize your tool inventory and find tools fast, visit www.sharemytoolbox.com/tool-tracking.