One of the keys to success in nearly every endeavor is the famous KISS principle: “Keep It Simple, Stupid!”
Of course, increasing complexity is just a way of life. In fact, when it comes to growing a business, a certain amount of increased complexity is actually a positive thing: it means you’re heading in the right direction. But, it’s a balancing act. If things get out of control, complications can actually slow that growth and cripple a business.
A perfect example of this challenging balancing act is in the realm of tool and equipment management within the MEP industry.
The natural rise of complexity in tool management
For small construction firms, keeping track of all the tools and equipment you currently own and/or rent is a fairly simple process. There’s probably one central tool crib or storeroom where everything is kept, and there are only a handful of workers using them. Generally, they’re only working on one or maybe two jobs at a time.
Oftentimes, one person can keep a pretty good handle on it using a pen and clipboard and a weekly stroll through the storeroom.
But, as firms grow, they inevitably accumulate more assets from more varied sources. And, they have more employees using all that equipment, perhaps at many different job sites simultaneously. With this natural growth of the business comes a lot more complexity in keeping track of all those tools. When you add in the need for job-specific invoicing, security arrangements to reduce shrinkage, and other added challenges, you can see why a pen and clipboard simply won’t cut it anymore.
At this stage, most firms will have either upgraded to some sort of digital system — whether an Excel spreadsheet or a more robust custom solution — and/or they’ve hired one or more employees whose sole job is manning the tool crib and managing all those assets.
Achieving the optimal balance
There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these methods for asset management, assuming they’re working effectively for you.
But, if your firm has experienced the natural rise of complexity in tool management and you’re still trying to juggle everything with manual processes or throwing personnel at the problem, you’re likely wasting time and money, and you’re definitely not getting all the value you could out of your tool and equipment management.
Ease of use
The consistent use of tool and equipment management software eliminates a lot of the guesswork from inventory management. Everything is there at your fingertips, with the option to slice and dice the data however you or your boss wishes.
Speed and convenience
When you’re using a tool management software solution, getting your tools back is automated. By including email or text notifications based on predetermined “red flags,” the system can automatically facilitate restocking needs, maintenance schedules, recommended replacement, and best practices in regards to safety.
Powerful reporting capability
Reports providing accurate, real-time data about inventory-related details actually speeds up decision making, both at the warehouse level and in the boardroom. This facilitates a more strategic and proactive approach to asset management while saving time and money.
Keeping better control of the company’s tool and equipment inventory helps reduce shrinkage through loss and theft. It helps make employees feel more personally accountable for the proper care and return of tools signed out to them, knowing that the system isn’t likely to make mistakes or accept an oversight.
The key to success in tool and equipment management is choosing a software solution that can create efficiencies all along the tool management workflow, from purchasing through retirement, adding potential ROI at every step of that path.
If you’re at the point where you know you’ve outgrown your current method of tool management and you’re ready for a faster, easier, more profitable option, contact Trimble today to discuss the AllTrak Cloud Tool and Equipment Management solution.