Why Construction Companies Need a Modern Inventory Management System
Over the past 20 years technology has enabled significant productivity gains across nearly every industry that can be thought of. Unfortunately construction stands out as an industry that has stagnated in that time period. According to a Mckinsey Global Institute report, the construction sector’s annual productivity growth has been only 1% over the past 20 years.
The Mckinsey report recommends, amongst other things, that construction firms “infuse digital technology” across their organization to help drive productivity gains and improve overall operations. Any modern construction company that isn’t utilizing a modern inventory management system is costing themselves a significant amount of lost productivity, analytical insights, and is ultimately hurting their own and their clients bottom lines. Many still believe that an inventory management system does nothing other than keep track of tools; the reality of a fully featured modern inventory management system like Toolwatch is that it touches and improves nearly every aspect of a construction company's day-to-day operations.
Going beyond simple inventory management
ToolWatch’s cloud-based inventory management system provides automated, accurate, real time data about every element of a construction company's operations that can drive strategic initiatives and inform high-level decision making while eliminating time consuming and productivity killing processes that are prone to error.
ToolWatch recently integrated BLE (bluetooth low energy) technology into our system that allows for fully automated asset tracking across multiple job sites, removing the need to manually scan every asset in and out when it needs to be moved between the warehouse, field site, or even between job sites. This not only saves time and frees up workers to focus on productive tasks, BLE technology also seamlessly improves safety conditions through checking if workers are authorized to use certain equipment, notifying staff when equipment inspections are required, and can even send messages like “check the straps on your harness” to ensure that all workers understand and are up to date with safety standards and regulations.
The automated data and information provided by this system enables ToolWatch to give insights to all parts of your team from the field to the back office. Data on tool utilization, location, and overall organizational productivity is priceless and can enable much better informed strategic decisions through all levels of an organization.
Improving Productivity in the Warehouse
On any large job there are a lot of moving pieces, so even the best warehouse staff will lose valuable equipment when using inventory systems that just count the number of items on a shelf. By comparison, modern construction inventory management solutions like ToolWatch not only provide inventory counts, but they also deliver digital workflows designed to support construction companies warehouse logistics and broader operations. Without one of these systems, it is incredibly common to be losing thousands of dollars to theft, mismanagement, and untold labor value wasted with workers waiting to have the tools they need to move jobs forward.
ToolWatch enables the management of every asset from the smallest drill bit to enormous pieces of equipment and ensures that they are accounted for in every step of their lifecycle. ToolWatch’s built in accountability tracking system dramatically reduces theft, loss, and mismanagement of resources in the warehouse and field. Along with the better tracking of inventory, ToolWatch offers a range of features that accelerate inventory management processes, such as: …
Check-in/Check-out - Automated tracking of tools enables seamless checking in and out of inventory without having to take part in time consuming scanning processes.
User Defined Template - Allows warehouse managers to create templates for groups of tools commonly used together, saving scanning and equipping times.
Picking - Allows auto generated pick tickets saving time and reducing human error.
Field Requests - Allows teams in the field to request equipment immediately, speeding up request time and preventing warehouse teams from being overwhelmed with requests at the beginning and end of the day.
Deliveries and Transfers - ToolWatch anticipates incoming shipments and helps warehouse managers avoid shortages and logjams at the receiving dock.
Service and Calibration - Automated maintenance schedules for any piece of equipment maximizing their useful life and automatically improves worksite safety.
Automated inventory Counts - Automatically keeps inventory numbers up to date avoiding any shortages and eliminating time consuming manual inventory management processes.
Improve your systems not your people
Every company in the world would like to have the most effective workforce they can find, but the truth is often that the systems and procedures that a labor force works within are what determines their productivity. A more practical view is that the productivity of a workforce is most often the result of the organizational structure and processes they work within.
For a company looking to improve their operations, a fully equipped construction inventory management system – one that utilizes automation and features digital workflows designed to support construction logistics – is essential to enable your people to focus on the productive tasks that will bring your projects in on time and under budget. ToolWatch not only supports construction operations in this way, it also provides insightful data analytics to optimize those operations and drive other strategic decisions.