If you use heavy work equipment, you probably put a lot of effort into making sure your business has the right tools and safety equipment for each job. From tools and equipment such as air winches and lever hoists to safety equipment, you put a lot of energy into making sure your team has what they need to deliver results.
How efficiently is all that equipment managed? Do you spend more time trying to locate the right tool in your warehouse or tool crib than you should? How do you know when to order in more equipment? Which job site uses a certain type of equipment more often?
Keep reading to learn more about our seven tips for better equipment inventory management.
1. Keep an up-to-date tool and equipment inventory list
At a quick glance, do you know how what equipment you have in your warehouse or tool crib today? And how many of each item? Like many companies, you probably have a lot more than you think you do on some items and a lot less on others.
Keeping an up-to-date tool and equipment inventory list means you always have an up-to-date summary of what tools and equipment you have and each quantity. You can also track who was the last to use an item.
2. Fix or replace tools and equipment when needed
As you already know, replacing tools and equipment can be both time consuming and expensive. Also, tools and equipment that is used more frequently needs to be maintained more frequently.
Restocking key tools or planning maintenance tasks can be challenging without a usage summary. Tracking your tool and equipment inventory accurately means you can fix or replace these items with less hassle. Fix or replace what you need – and not what you do not.
Tracking your tool and equipment inventory electronically means you can also predict when restocking an item or service is required too. No more waiting until all your safety equipment has run out or a piece of equipment breaks to ensure you are ready for your next assignment. Setting up automatic restocking thresholds organize what you need to reorder and send an email reminder suggesting you order what you need. Same concept for equipment – automatic thresholds suggest when maintenance is required via email notification.
You know what tools and equipment your business depends on to keep running optimally. Keep them in service and in stock with the help of email reminders in order to maximize your operational readiness.
3. Spend the right amount
This might sound like simple straight forward business advice, but wasteful spending isn’t a smart way to outpace your competition, keep costs in check or maximize your operational readiness. And if you work with heavy work equipment, neither is buying tools and equipment multiple times throughout the year because you cannot easily track (and find) your equipment.
Think of it this way – how many hoists or round slings will you really need this spring for that big project with XYZ Company? By tracking your tool and equipment inventory electronically, you’ll have a more accurate view of what your true needs are now – or will be in the future.
Buy what you need, when you need it. Save money by prioritizing your spending on the right tools and equipment – at the right time.
4. Right tool and the right location
If you have multiple job sites, knowing where your equipment is, or which employee was the last to use a tool can be invaluable knowledge when deciding which tools and equipment to place at each job site.
5. Track changes and organize improvements automatically, if possible
Does any of your equipment need to be safety checked between users? If yes, setting up automatic email notifications can ensure these checks are completed as required – and without the hassle of manual controls. This can be especially useful when the department managing tools and equipment isn’t necessarily in the same geographical location as the tools and equipment being tracked.
Want to know when a frequently used tool or piece of equipment is checked out, returned or is ready for service between uses? Set up email notifications to help you stay up-to-date without lapse or hassle.
6. Use RFID codes or QR-codes to make your job even easier
While improving how you track tools and equipment will add efficiency to your business operations, adding RFID codes or QR-codes to the equation will increase your efficiency even further. Imagine walking into a tool crib, grabbing the tools and equipment needed, then walking out through RFID gates placed at the exit– and registering all admin data on your selections at the same time. No paper lists to manage, no attendee to hire and everything is logged automatically – brilliant!
When your equipment is tagged with RFID codes, tracking is activated by simply scanning the code when you walk through the RFID gates or even a RFID scanner attached to a desk. Same with QR codes – use a QR code reader and make tracking tools and equipment much simpler than tracking it manually.
Automatically scan and track your tools and equipment in one user friendly seamless action without any paperwork or even a tool crib attendant.
7. Avoid using paperwork or spreadsheets
This might seem like a no-brainer but using paperwork attached to clipboards has its limitations, as do spreadsheets. Paperwork gets lost, is filled in incorrectly and isn’t an up-to-the-minute active document. It also isn’t available worldwide 24/7, on desktop or mobile. And forget about it being a secure way to track tools and equipment. One coffee spill can ruin a stack of paperwork in the time it takes you to says “oops”.
Spreadsheets are an outdated way to track tools and equipment as there is no tracking history available, multiple users cannot to work efficiently in the same document at the same time and checking for errors – especially with large amounts of data – can be a daunting task. Managing your equipment this way is outdated, cumbersome and ineffective. Add to that data entry errors which can multiply quite easily and the threat of losing data if a file isn’t stored in a shared location.
Paperwork and spreadsheets have very real limitations, while automated solutions solve most of the issues both options present.
We advise companies to increase their efficiency by losing the paperwork and spreadsheets therefore making the most of their resources by tracking their tool and equipment inventory electronically.
You’ll know exactly what you need, when and for whom but also when to purchase what you need, where to stock or store it.
When your equipment is tagged with RFID codes, tracking is activated by simply scanning the code through RFID gates or even a RFID scanner attached to a desk. Same with QR codes – use a QR code reader and make tracking tools and equipment much simpler than tracking it manually.