Tool Management Software helps businesses lower costs and increase ROI
They say a workman is only as good as his tools, but what if the tools are faulty, misplaced or generally unproductive? Whether you’re a tool crib manager or a general contractor, keeping track of your company’s tools, equipment and materials can be dreary work. Not only can there be an overwhelmingly large number of tools to account for, but the maintenance schedules and procurement cycles can be hard to organize.
A lot of information – such as the condition of the asset, the expected productivity, or the amount of depreciation it has undergone – needs to be noted, recorded and arranged meaningfully to make the operational processes as quick and painless as possible.
What is Tool Management?
To solve the problems above, an automated tool management system would be especially helpful. The focus of any robust tool management system is to identify and generate information that can enhance the efficiency of not just locating tools, but also servicing them, retiring them, and being able to log specific attributes to maximize efficiency.
In addition to this, the system should be flexible enough to manage the lifecycles of different types of tools, log activity, movement across locations, integrate with other software, and create reports that provide a detailed insight into tool optimization.
Therefore, what’s important is the kind of information you produce, and the way you apply that information to lower costs, increase returns on investment, and reduce the time and personnel required to ensure smooth workflows.
How Can Tool Management Help Your Business?
Tool management is great at ironing out the kinks in operational processes. In essence, it’s total tool lifecycle and data management. You need to ensure production capacity is optimized, and tool life-shortening prevented as much as possible.
The kind of data produced can be used to draw up much more efficient shop floor plans, further lowering time investments and choosing much more efficient organizational pathways. The centralization of information, as well as the way it is open to multiple tiers of workers and managers, means that everyone can not just review and utilize valuable information, but can also add to it.
This ensures a well-rounded and participatory managerial system, whereby data is shared and co-managed between different operational departments. The ability to update information simultaneously enables the tool management software to become a virtual toolroom, where you can see tool check-ins and check-outs, downtimes, and custodianship data change as it happens!
Collecting Initial Data
Tool management may be divided into two broad categories. The first is documentation, whereby precedence is given to the generation of ‘master data’ relating to a company’s tools. If there’s something you want to know about what a tool does, what it’s characteristics are or the ways in which it is used by different people, you should find it here.
Therefore, you can input specific characteristics of the tools into the system, print and scan labels with QR Codes and barcodes that you’ve designed yourself, and define security domains controlling the level of access certain groups have over specific data or actions.
This collection of master data is also helped through integrations with third-party accounting and customer relationship management software. The generation of infinitely customizable reports also helps you keep track of all the data points your organization would like to explore in more depth.
The second category tool management systems are divided into is called logistics. This relates to ‘transaction data’, meaning it keeps track of the way in which initial data relating to tools changes over time. Therefore, the logistics side of things can help you keep track of where your tools are, who has access to them, or how their value or use has changed over time. This includes all tracking and monitoring actions relating to tool lifecycle management, such as tracking vendors, custodianship, audits, services and maintenance, calculating productivity, tool ROI and other performance indicators, all the way through to the eventual retirement of the tools themselves.
Tool Management Software – A Feature Overview
What other functionalities can tool management software provide to ensure smooth workflows? Bundles can come in especially handy when you wish to send out tool kits for projects that usually have similar requirements. This allows you to create well-defined tool layouts that can be used time and again, cutting down project prep-times and enabling you to take mass actions on the group as a whole.
Carts can be built up if you’d like to track the progress of certain projects. In this sense, any specific case can be monitored, from the moment the tools leave the toolroom, to their potential verification in-transit, through to when they are finally checked in again (after any damage has been logged, of course). You can even create linkages between carts, helping you group tools thematically while at the same time creating a correlation between these groups. Picklists can also be generated and disseminated to warehouse workers or yard personnel to ensure no tools get left behind to disrupt production.
User listings are another cool feature of tool management software. They can enable crew members and field workers from different specializations to borrow from the same pool of resources or section off the group of assets they’d be borrowing from. This kind of multi-platform management of tools can lower costs across the organization as a whole, while at the same time establishing access control parameters, delineating what can and cannot be checked out without supervisory approval.
Barcodes and QR Codes can help you identify and locate assets as the need crops up. Not just this, but a QR Code management system – which allows you to change information in real-time – can also be exceptionally helpful. Tools undergoing servicing can display exactly what needs to be fixed, for example, ‘re-grinding’, ‘coating’, or ‘general calibration’. You should also be able to see how much has been spent on a tool over its lifetime, allowing you to make better-informed decisions about the viability of continued use.
Tool management software is a great resource for companies that wish to identify, organize, monitor and plan for the way they use tools across their organization. This can be a highly effective resource for tool crib personnel and shop floor managers.
EZOfficeInventory has enabled thousands of businesses lower costs, improve ROIs and strengthen their tool and equipment management processes. This content is inspired by our interactions with them, in the hopes that more businesses can be helped in the same way.