In the ever-evolving landscape of utility construction, efficiency and accountability are the cornerstones of success. For Charge, a leading provider of design, procurement, and construction services for the West Coast utility industry, these principles were put to the test within their VPC North division. In the face of complex tool management challenges, they turned to ShareMyToolbox for a solution that would revolutionize their processes and pave the way for substantial cost reduction and improved efficiency.
Michael Lane, a seasoned PE Pipeline Connections Specialist, spearheaded the initiative to seek out a tool management system that could streamline their operations and address the issues that had been plaguing them. As he explains, “We had so many different ways to somewhat understand that we purchased an item and who received the item but not a good understanding of where it was now.” The disjointed system of spreadsheets, smart sheets, and note sheets left them with a fragmented view of their tools and equipment’s whereabouts, creating inefficiencies and uncertainty across their operations.
The turning point came when the VPC North team discovered ShareMyToolbox through an online search. The platform’s simplicity and comprehensive approach to tool management and tracking immediately resonated with the team. Michael Lane reflects on their discovery, stating, “What appealed to us most at first was its simplicity and how the ShareMyToolbox program and application touched on all the aspects of a tool tracker we were looking for.”
With the support of Charge’s leadership, including Greg Behr, Josh Smith, and Alonso Ojeda, the decision was made to implement ShareMyToolbox. The process was swift, moving from problem identification to full rollout in less than six months. ShareMyToolbox’s implementation marked a significant departure from the complex and disjointed methods of the past, offering a unified and user-friendly solution that resonated with their entire team.
“What appealed to us most at first was its simplicity and how the ShareMyToolbox program and application touched on all the aspects of a tool tracker we were looking for.”
The results were impressive. Accountability soared as tools and equipment became directly associated with individual users. “Although our field personnel have been reasonably good with their tools, we have started to see a reduction in misused and damaged items being returned. We believe this is due to a feeling of increased accountability now that the item is associated with a name,” explains Michael Lane. The platform’s barcode tracking system played a pivotal role in this newfound accountability, enabling maintenance alerts, calibration tracking, and damage monitoring at all stages.
One of the most tangible benefits was the transformation of the field transfer and tracking process. Initially met with some skepticism, the ShareMyToolbox tool management platform eventually became an integral part of the crew’s daily routines. As Michael Lane notes, “Field transfer and tracking started off a bit slow, but as our field personnel started becoming more familiar using the ShareMyToolbox application we saw a substantial increase of items being shared between our primary users.” This newfound efficiency translated into smoother operations, reduced downtime, and enhanced crew productivity.
Beyond tools and equipment, ShareMyToolbox also addressed consumables inventory management, allowing VPC North to pre-order items and optimize the materials facility personnel’s time. This shift towards streamlined procurement planning saved valuable resources and further streamlined operations. The platform’s user-friendly interface and accessibility were crucial to its success, enabling personnel across all levels of the organization to embrace the system.
Looking ahead, Michael Lane and the VPC North team have ambitious plans to further optimize their tool management practices. They envision utilizing ShareMyToolbox for “condition auditing” to forecast replacement costs and tracking rented tools and equipment to manage costs effectively. With ShareMyToolbox, Charge’s VPC North division has not only streamlined their tool management processes but also embraced a more efficient and accountable way of working. As Michael Lane aptly puts it, “At its heart, this is exactly what ShareMyToolbox does for us.” In the world of utility construction, where every moment and every resource count, ShareMyToolbox has proven to be the catalyst for lasting change and improved success.