Get Organized: A Look at Comprehensive Tool Tracking
If you’re like most contractors, you’ve invested a lot of money to ensure your teams have the required tools for completing jobs properly. However, despite these large investments in tool assets, you might not be tracking their usage and where they’re located at any given time like you do with your big machinery. We get it — you understand it’s important to track all the assets that directly contribute to the completion of a project, but for some reason, managing the large investment in smaller tools is sometimes overlooked. And, you’re not alone. According to our tool tracking survey, 50% of contractors have given up tracking small tools and equipment.
Why aren’t contractors tracking tools? The primary reason actually lies with asset capitalization policies. Most CFOs start capitalizing assets at a level that excludes the value of most tools, so tools end up being expensed. On the surface, it makes sense that if tools are expensed, they aren’t listed as fixed assets and are therefore treated as consumables. But the reality is, the lifespan of a tool could be several years or more — so perhaps those tools should be accounted for like other pieces of typically more expensive equipment.
How can contractors effectively – and affordably – track tools at the enterprise level? We’ve heard numerous times that keeping track of tools on an Excel spreadsheet simply doesn’t work – especially when it comes to accountability regarding who had a certain tool last. Many contractors realize that just having a tool inventory record doesn’t solve all tool management issues. Fortunately, easy-to-use tool tracking software exists and allows you to manage your inventory from the phone in your pocket.
A Comprehensive Tool Inventory
Tracking and managing your company’s large investment in tools means getting organized in a new, more effective way — and with modern technology, it is completely do-able. As Kimberly Hegeman explained in For Construction Pros, “off the book” tool tracking solutions like ShareMyToolbox let employees know what tools are available and which co-worker has them without needing to call the office for that information. Unlike a static check-in/check-out list, this sort of app makes employees accountable for the tools assigned to them and also facilitates the exchange of tools between employees without checking them back into a tool crib.
Here’s how it works:
1. Get organized: Know what you currently have (and how long you’ve had it).
First, you will compile a current inventory of all tools and equipment you own. It’s also important to track how long you’ve owned something so you can anticipate needed maintenance or replacement, and whether your equipment is lasting as long as it should.
2. Get organized: Know where it currently is.
Tools and equipment move in the field – that’s part of what makes tracking them a challenge. But you’ll need to look at the list of what you currently own and answer the question: right now, where is it? This will also help reveal what tools are sitting idle and therefore available for use on other jobs.
3. Get organized: Know who’s responsible for it.
Responsibility must be assigned to the person currently using a tool, and this person must be able to not only accept but also transfer the responsibility. It’s been proven time and again: having a system that enables personnel to make and track tool transfers in the field places a more urgent sense of responsibility on field personnel.You will reduce tool loss when everyone knows who is accountable for each tool.
Not accounting for the smaller tools and equipment that continuously vanish from your jobsites means thousands of dollars are vanishing right along with them. It’s time to consider a comprehensive tool tracking system for keeping an eye on those assets that fall below the capitalization threshold. Whether you’re trying to build your own process or evaluating a complete tool tracking system, be sure it starts with getting organized.
If you’d like to learn more about modern tool tracking applications check out ShareMyToolbox or call, 866.768.8665.
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