“There is no more getting a call from the field and going on an hour long hunt to find stuff.”Stacy Simmons, White Electrical
White Electrical – Finding Tools Fast
Like many contractors that work over a large geography White Electrical was struggling with the time it took to find equipment. When a field foreman would call the office to request a piece of equipment the warehouse manager would spend an hour and a half looking for what was needed. He would send out a mass e-mail asking who had it and then would call the guys who did not respond to the e-mail. If someone said that a specific person had the equipment he would need to call or text with him to confirm that it was onsite before driving out. With sites that were hours away he needed to be sure it was there as equipment would often move from site to site without anyone notifying the office.
The difficulty and time it took to find tools and equipment created scenarios where it was easier to buy duplicate items rather than calling around to find things. Thus, the company was buying 5 or 6 of a tool when they only needed 3.
In the spring of 2016 White Electrical deployed the ShareMyToolbox system to 36 foreman and field technicians. The goal for the system was to make finding and transferring tools easier. When evaluating systems Stacy Simmons found that most systems were designed around a guy in a tool crib scanning everything out. That simply wouldn’t work for Stacy.
In his job he had multiple duties. Managing the tool inventory was just one of several things he needed to stay on top of and often he would be out of the office visiting jobsites for hours at a time. Thus, the field foreman and technicians needed the ability to take responsibility for the tools themselves. A system that required him to do everything simply wouldn’t work.
ShareMyToolbox was the one system that was designed around field personnel controlling tools rather than the office. It was designed with the field in mind and enabled field personnel to be responsible for the tools they had and needed which is just what Stacy was searching for.
Once ShareMyToolbox was put in place guys could conduct a search for tools themselves. They simply pull their phone out and check what we have in stock before they drive to the office or buy more. When they get to the warehouse they can grab what they need and scan it out with their own phone. This means someone doesn’t have to be manning the warehouse at all times. Field personnel can stop in early or late in the day and get what they need and scan it out themselves. Even when out of the office Stacy will get an alert on his phone that someone has scanned an item out and he can simply tap “approve” and the transaction is done. Simple, fast and mobile!
One extra benefit of the system being mobile is that the Savannah office has jobs in 7 counties. Thus, when searching for a tool, a technician may find that the closest tool is on another job. By contacting another job and borrowing the tool from that job, the field guys save hours in the truck not having to drive back to the home office. “Foreman and technicians now find the fastest way to get what they need and keep working,” said Stacy.
Tool tracking is always a work in process. At this point Stacy has barcoded about 300 tools and pieces of equipment. He is still working on getting tags on everything. Some tools are a challenge to barcode so he is starting to etch a number into many tools. ShareMyToolbox is flexible enough to track tools regardless of whether they have a barcode. A person can look up a tool by scanning a barcode or by typing in a name or number. Thus, the barcodes don’t have to be perfect for the system to maintain who is responsible for each tool.
Now that the field has taken control and responsibility for tools and equipment Stacy has more time to do the high value things. He is better able to manage what they are buying and be more efficient with his own time. “The field guys can find what they need and the best way to get it themselves. This helps them be responsible for their own tools which helps the whole company.” “There is no more getting a call from the field and going on an hour long hunt to find stuff.”
To learn more about Tool Tracking visit ShareMyToolbox.com or call, 866.768.8665.
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