ToolWatch

Customer Stories

Customer Stories

Success Stories

ToolWatch’s more than 6,000 worldwide customers represent emerging contractors, global construction organizations, Fortune 500 companies, gas and oil firms, manufacturing organizations and even the U.S. military. Additionally, many of the nation’s top contractors—including 30 percent of the ENR Top 400 general contractors and 20 percent of the ENR Top 600 specialty contractors—leverage ToolWatch every day to improve tool and equipment retention, prevent costly project delays, reduce cost overruns, and boost field and warehouse productivity. Discover how ToolWatch customers have dramatically reduced tool loss while managing materials more affordably and with less effort.

ToolWatch helps SelectBuild save more than $400,000 annually—system ready for rollout across SelectBuild organization

Situation

Power to the people. It may sound like the lyrics to a classic rock anthem, but for SelectBuild, it’s just a principle of smart business. A subsidiary of BMHC, SelectBuild provides turnkey construction services to the country’s highest-volume production homebuilders, including concrete, plumbing, framing, HVAC, stucco and other services. Operating in 10 western and southern states, the company’s decentralized structure allows specific locations to identify opportunities to improve business practices that help the company meet or exceed customers’ expectations. In other words, the people who work in the trenches have a voice in making the business better. When two SelectBuild locations, located in Northern California and Las Vegas, Nevada, separately raised concerns about similar problems in their tool warehouses, SelectBuild knew they were facing a widespread company issue. Each location was losing between $2,500 and $20,000 worth of tools each month. And this number was just raw tool costs, one that only grew when the company factored in the time spent checking tools in and out using inefficient, inconsistent systems and replacing items the company already owned.

Solution

Kari Lopez, director of business systems for SelectBuild’s parent company, BMHC, was assigned to assess the problem and find a suitable solution that could be applied company-wide. Right away, she identified attributes that would be key to the solution’s success. “The system had to be easy to use and integrate with our current accounting system. When we took a look at what we wanted the program to accomplish for us, we realized that ToolWatch was the best option,” Lopez explained. Encouraged by ToolWatch’s comprehensive features, including the ability to flag low levels of consumable items, SelectBuild began a detailed implementation process, bringing together field personnel, the IT team and ToolWatch experts to make sure the tool management system would work seamlessly with software the company already had in place. SelectBuild ran a two-month pilot program to ensure that ToolWatch could work within the company’s business processes and would provide the benefits employees needed. The pilot also gave them a chance to smooth any snags that could arise once the system was live.

Result

The two SelectBuild pilot locations that initially raised concerns about their tool management systems have transitioned ToolWatch into their daily operations. Six months after implementation, the results have been even better than Lopez expected. The initial savings analysis indicates the company will save more than $400,000 a year just by using ToolWatch in the Las Vegas and Northern California locations. This savings includes quantifiable improvements to the company’s warehouse processes as well—more than 5,600 hours in time saved each year, which accounts for more than $150,000 of the total annual savings. “ToolWatch has let us spend less time monitoring inventory levels and consolidate purchase orders,” explained Lopez. “That means we’re not only saving time on all those activities, we’ve been able to reassign employees new responsibilities and get more tasks done every day.” That makes two down, more than 30 SelectBuild locations to go. As SelectBuild presents its impressive results to the company management team, new locations have the opportunity to adopt ToolWatch themselves. And if their results mirror those of Las Vegas and Northern California, SelectBuild’s financial rewards will increase exponentially.

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Carolina P&L Powers Up Tool Inventory Management With ToolWatch System—Emergency Response Time an Added Value

Situation

When Carolina Power & Light (CPLC) went looking for a system that would allow them to manage the company’s inventory of more than 5,000 tools, their goal was to control loss, theft and damage and keep track of equipment on jobsites. The regional utility saw ToolWatch at an industry trade show and Danny Hall, Senior Technology Specialist said the company was impressed with its flexibility and ease-of-use. Said Hall, “Our tool management program was outdated. We needed a system that would enable us to not only track our tools on jobsites, but allow us to expand our tracking to include on-site equipment.” The ToolWatch System went online in late 1998. Now one employee at each of five repair locations manages tools for the company’s field engineering and line and service crews. Employees use a variety of equipment including hand tools, meters, personal safety equipment and underground radar systems worth as much as $20,000. CPLC’s 23 Resource Coordinators located at field sites throughout North and South Carolina use the ToolWatch database to monitor on-site tool and test equipment inventories. Coordinators obtain and maintain tools for line and service crews, and ToolWatch enables them to match tools with specific job needs and manage tool-buying costs. “The best thing about ToolWatch is their support,” said Hall. “Thanks to the ToolWatch technical and training teams, our employees were ready to start using ToolWatch in two days.” Hall says the company has discovered another ToolWatch benefit. With the improved efficiency afforded by the ToolWatch System, CPLC has significantly improved the time it takes to move critical emergency equipment into place during the area’s annual hurricane season.

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ToolWatch part of Thompson Electric’s success—replacement costs shrink as business grows

Situation

Ohio-based Thompson Electric, Inc. (TEI) can handle virtually any kind of electrical project, from a simple residential installation to a multimillion-dollar construction assignment. The company has grown steadily since its founding in 1977 and more than 150 field personnel work at jobsites around the state. Among their clients are the Ohio Department of Transportation, Six Flags and Chrysler Corporation. The company’s divisions include commercial and residential construction and service, temperature control, high voltage, traffic signalization and outside lighting. Keeping tools in the right hands was a big challenge for Tools and Equipment Manager, Eugene Thompson. Missing and stolen tools cost the company time and money in delays and lost productivity. While most missing tools are simply misplaced by employees, in one case a few years ago before the company implemented ToolWatch, thieves took an entire gang box from a Sears project site over a weekend. On Monday, the company scrambled to replace the tools so work could proceed on schedule. Experiences like the Sears theft helped company leadership recognize the need for a better method of tracking their thousands of tools and in 1994 they implemented the ToolWatch System. Now more than 4,600 tools are assigned to the company’s fleet of 65 vans and to individual employees. Says Thompson, “When tools are delivered to a new jobsite, the truck driver hands the foreman a list of tools so he knows exactly what he has on hand.” Another effort that saves time and reduces loss and tool hoarding is the company’s monthly tool reporting process. ToolWatch generates a monthly list of tools assigned to each jobsite and field foremen must check tools off on the report and account for any missing items. Theft is not TEI’s major challenge, but tracking tools between the company’s more than two dozen jobsites is, says Thompson. “Now that we use ToolWatch, we don’t lose many tools, so we don’t pay for replacements. Our job estimates are more accurate because we can control costs. That’s really important when we’re committed to a project budget.” One example of TEI’s success with ToolWatch is a long-term project at Chrysler Corporation’s stamping plant where TEI’s employees work round-the-clock in 12-hour shifts, seven days a week. The company started the project in November 1999 and 80 employees use the jobsite tool inventory worth $200,000. “Chrysler is in a hurry to get the job finished and with ToolWatch we don’t have to worry about lost time due to missing tools,” he says. There’s a lot at stake. Completing the job on time could result in more Chrysler projects for Thompson Electric. ToolWatch ensures that Thompson Electric delivers the on-time, on-budget performance the company’s clients have come to expect. Mr. Thompson is a self-professed ToolWatch supporter. As a result of his recommendations, several other contractors have become ToolWatch users.

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