Things aren’t getting any easier out there. In fact, each year the complexity of construction work continues to increase while profit margins get thinner. According to Accenture, only 30% of construction firms currently deliver projects on budget, and only 15% deliver on time. This is likely no surprise to you; it’s the reality you live in every day. And it’s why you’re working your ass off to improve every area of operations. For most contractors tool tracking is an essential function to make sure you stay profitable.
It’s critical to identify that losing or misplacing pricey tools (and repeatedly rebuying them) is a serious issue affecting those over-budget jobs, and ultimately, your company’s bottom line. In order to protect your investment in tools and minimize unnecessary tool replacement, there are three steps you’ve got to take:
- Get organized by tracking and managing a current inventory of tools.
- Monitor the transfer of tools in the field in order to find tools fast.
- Assign responsibility to the person currently using a tool in order to build accountability and allow responsibility to move along with the tool.
We’ve observed that the “build accountability” piece of tool tracking is where most contractors fail to execute. But we get it — it’s not that you don’t care, and it sure as hell isn’t because you haven’t tried. “Responsibility lists,” sign-out lists… sound familiar? Yeah. We know. The lists are unreliable; they fall out of date as the tools move from person to person, and they don’t get updated.
So, to crack down on it all, you require tools to be checked into the office before moving to another job. But THEN, over time, you discover the restrictions end up increasing your tool costs because, with the delay of requesting and receiving equipment, superintendents start holding onto anything they might need rather than risk not having the tools they require for their projects.
This, of course, slows down the flow to other projects that may need those tools. The slower movement of tools results in the company purchasing more tools than are actually needed. And you’re back to square one.
This is not a sustainable practice.
The transfer of tool responsibility while in the field is THE key to effective tool tracking. Here’s why:
1. It Empowers
Responsibility must be assigned to the person currently using a tool, and this person needs to be able to “accept” the responsibility. You will reduce tool loss when your personnel are empowered with accountability, and everyone knows who is responsible for each tool.
2. It Enables
It’s been proven time and again: having a system that enables personnel to track tool transfers in the field places a more urgent sense of responsibility on field personnel. To do this effectively, your tool tracking system must be mobile: it has to be done in the field, without calling the office. Enable field users to transfer responsibility when they transfer a tool.
3. It Equips
An effective tool tracking system has to benefit the field personnel using it. The right tool tracking solution will make transferring tools and their responsibility easier, equipping you and your field personnel with clearer visibility into the tool inventory at any given time.
Whether you’re evaluating a tool tracking system or building your own process, place your focus and emphasis on how field personnel can build accountability by easily transferring responsibility while maintaining a record of the transaction. This is the key that determines the success of your tool tracking process.
To learn more about tool tracking technology that enables tool transfers in the field, visit www.sharemytoolbox.com/tool-tracking.
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