The construction industry is becoming more complex, which is causing problems for contractors. Only 30% of firms deliver projects on budget, and only 15% deliver on time according to the accounting firm Accenture. New materials require expensive tools, which can be lost or misplaced, resulting in increased costs for contractors. In this challenging environment, contractors need to save money wherever they can. Can tool tracking be a critical key to success?
One area where contractors can save money is by managing their tool investments. Companies often accumulate tools that have a useful life well past the job for which they were originally purchased. This tool inventory is lightly managed and tracked, but it is worth thousands of dollars to the business. Unfortunately, Modern Contractor Solutions states more than $1 billion in valuable tools are lost each year.
Three Steps to Protecting Your Investment
To protect a company’s investment in tools, three steps need to be taken.
- First, a current inventory of tools must be tracked and managed.
- Second, responsibility needs to be assigned to the current person who is using a tool, and this person needs to “accept” the responsibility. This establishes accountability.
- Finally, a method of monitoring the transfer of tool responsibility in the field needs to be practiced.
How Tool Tracking Can be the Key
However, many contractors fail to execute the third step. Sign-out lists or Excel spreadsheet “responsibility lists” quickly fall out of date and become unreliable since tools move from person to person in the field. Restricting the movement of tools from person to person actually increases a company’s tool costs, as superintendents are apt to hold onto anything they might possibly need. This slows down the flow to other projects and results in the company purchasing more tools than are actually needed.
Instead of restricting the movement of tools, contractors should encourage tools to move from person to person and job to job. More tool movement means better tool utilization, which is good business. The key is to make it easy for field people to transfer responsibility along with the tool when it moves from person to person.
The transfer of tool responsibility while in the field is the key to effective tool tracking. Having a system that tracks tool transfers in the field places a more urgent sense of responsibility on field personnel. Simple, affordable technology solutions are available, which contractors can deploy in the field.
When considering a solution for managing responsibility with tool transfers, contractors should look for a solution that is easy and fast, can be done in the field without calling the office, and benefits the field person to do it. By focusing on how field personnel can easily transfer responsibility while maintaining a record of the transaction, contractors can successfully track their tools.