Keeping track of tool inventory is easier software.
One of ToolHound’s clients is a construction firm with two branches: large commercial projects and small projects and maintenance. Between new construction, demolitions, interior renovations, and space maintenance, their toolroom is home to a substantial inventory of tools and supplies. But managing that inventory proved challenging—not only did they have trouble tracking where tools were, but they were also losing tools and supplies at an alarming rate. They needed a solution that would reduce loss (to assets and profits), that would be easy to implement, and that would allow them to have instant, on-demand access to their inventory.
OLD SCHOOL WAY
When the firm’s toolroom manager joined the team in 2016, they had just selected ToolHound to create a customized, electronic, cloud-based inventory system. Up until that point, the inventory system was completely old school: “A 3-inch, 3-ring binder. No joke,” he says, “We didn’t have Excel, so every individual tool would be etched with an appropriate number and then it would go into the binder. Whether it be Sawzalls, circle saws, pin nailers, porta bands, or drills, everything we carry was logged into the binders. Essentially, they would be checked out and checked back in from there. By the time we contracted ToolHound, we had two or three separate binders, and with multiple pages and binders that get tossed around a lot, you lose track of inventory. We’d even lose full pages of inventory.”
With multiple superintendents running projects at the same time, their inventory management system was, as he says, “an organizational nightmare. You’d have tools that would literally disappear. Superintendents would get a job box delivered to one job, they would go in, complete that job, and then they would just carry the tools with them to the next job without logging them. We’d have tools that would be out of the toolroom for months, and, short of the binder, because the binder wouldn’t really specify what job it was going to or who the superintendent was, it was really just “Drill number 1024 is at Job A.” That would be the last time it was checked out by one superintendent and 6 months later, the same drill could come back, returned by a superintendent running a completely different job.”
Since the system was unreliable and inconsistent, there was no way to properly track everything—which ultimately lead to substantial inventory loss. Loss that impacted the firm’s bottom line. Prior to their ToolHound software implementation, the company spent anywhere from $10,000 to $17,000 per month on tools and supplies over the course of a year.
Enter ToolHound: The construction firm’s toolroom manager championed the software implementation, but his relationship with ToolHound began and continues with Cheryl Wallace, senior support representative, who provided an outline of steps to take prior to customizing and implementing the software. Not only that, but Cheryl also flew out to meet the toolroom manager and his team: “Having Cheryl initially come out and spend the time with us, making sure that when she left, she was comfortable, and we were comfortable was absolutely invaluable. The visit helped her understand what our thought processes and workflows were like and how we’d like them to be. But it also helped us understand how dynamic the software is and what ToolHound is capable, willing, and able to do for us.”
As an expert on the software, which is designed specifically for equipment and tool management, Cheryl’s collaboration was crucial. She knew what they wanted to accomplish and had the experience and expertise necessary to suggest alternative categorization methods and potential uses—which enabled her to cater ToolHound’s software to the company’s needs and their goals. The toolroom manager says, “Being able to talk directly to Cheryl, having her here spending time with us, and knowing that she’s always available, definitely helped expedite getting us in a position to roll out our hard start. The big thing really was just having a clear understanding of the end picture of what this program provides. Cheryl walked us down that path, she literally took us by the hand and said, ‘Okay, you guys share your goal or your end result with us, what that needs to look like, and we’ll work backwards from there.’ And then we put a plan in place.”
Because he didn’t know when the last system-wide inventory occurred, the toolroom manager created an inventory valuation that gave ToolHound the starting point to work from. In October 2016, Cheryl provided an outline of the necessary steps that led them toward their soft start in December 2016: “Once we had our inventory done, with her guidance, we were able to break down the different categories we wanted to use. Labeling everything. Figuring out what items we wanted to put barcodes on and which would be bulk items. It allowed us to simplify. The best thing about this program is the fact that we can customize it to our use. It’s a user-friendly product that allows us to get as close to maintaining 100-percent accuracy possible.”
For his part, the toolroom manager trained his team on how to use the software from tablets in the field, giving superintendents about a month to familiarize themselves with it before the hard rollout in January 2017. The firm’s ownership and management team were essential in securing buy-in, and together with the toolroom manager’s diligence and enthusiasm, and Cheryl’s support, the software implementation was a complete success. Between ToolHound’s accuracy, forecasting, and flexibility, the software has saved the construction company about $6,000 to $13,000 in monthly tool and supply expenses—a significant boon to their profit margins. Not only that, but the software increased onsite efficiency and productivity: “The program hasn’t just afforded us the ability to knock the retail charges aspect down, but it has also decreased the amount of time that our guys spend away from the jobsites. It’s been nothing short of all positives.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information about the accuracy, forecasting, and flexibility of ToolHounds’s software for tool inventory management, visit www.toolhound.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, July 2018
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