ToolWatch

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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.

Jenco Thinks Differently, Implements ToolWatch, Saves Time and Money

Problem

Jenco, a locally owned and operated commercial electrical contractor in Scottsdale, Arizona, prides itself on “thinking a little differently.” Over its nearly 30 years in business, the company had developed a sophisticated constellation of customer-focused products, services, tools, strategies, and software that made Jenco one of Arizona’s most sought-after contractors. But like many successful companies, not all Jenco’s internal management systems enjoyed the same attention to detail as its outward-facing services.

Most problematic was Jenco’s tool and equipment management software. While their legacy software did integrate with the company’s accounting system, it wasn’t robust enough to capture costs correctly. Jenco management knew their software was underreporting assets but didn’t know by how much.

“Our system was basically a fancy Excel,” said David Meacham, Jenco’s account manager. “We realized that not only were we not conquering our revenue, we didn’t know where our assets were. We didn't know how many tools we had or where any of them were. It was tool in, tool out and had a very loose billing structure. We didn’t even know how many assets we actually had as a company.”

Solution

Jenco management knew they had to upgrade their asset management system. They evaluated a number of options and finally narrowed the candidates to two platforms, ToolWatch and another well-known system. They liked both, but in the end, it was ToolWatch’s intangible benefits that locked in the decision. Although the costs and systems for the two companies appeared generally equal, the immediate selling point was Tool Watch’s training, support, and people.

But when ToolWatch was fully implemented, it quickly became apparent that its superior intangible benefits were just one part of the package. The ToolWatch Pro system Jenco selected included all desktop and mobile software for back office, warehouse, and field teams, plus coaching and training for the entire team.

Right out of the gate, ToolWatch’s seamless integration with other Jenco applications started saving considerable time and money across the board. Employees from office, warehouse, and field were trained to use its powerful features and apply them in an interconnected network that gave everyone instantaneous, granular, real-time data that quickly pinned down equipment locations, availability, costs, and so much more.

“Software is only as good as the people using it.” Meacham observed. “With ToolWatch we can teach people how to use the software to their ability levels. From a tech guru in admin to someone who can barely turn on a computer, we can teach everyone how to use the system.”

Result

With most staff now using the system for various specialized tasks, Jenco realized significantly greater efficiency and accuracy in all operations. As just one of dozens of examples, a field foreman who learned to use ToolWatch now does his own transfers, tracking, and audits. By delegating that task to the foreman, the warehouse manager no longer has to drive from site to site to perform audits. He can rely on the foreman and ToolWatch to update inventories instantly and accurately.

At Jenco, ToolWatch is now available on every device in the office and in the field. Today almost everyone in the company has access to the platform and uses it according to their need and ability. It wasn’t just operating efficiency that improved with ToolWatch. After using the system for five years, Jenco recovered around $250,000 in lost or stolen property that had not been reported correctly.

Account Manager David Meacham remains enthusiastic about Jenco’s ToolWatch system: “We’ve found nothing but great value with ToolWatch.”

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Woodruff Construction Snatches Runaway Tool Costs from Overhead Black Hole

Situation

Woodruff Construction, a general contractor that provides award-winning design-build, construction management, and project development services to clients across Iowa, needed to get a better handle on overhead costs so they could be allocated to job costing and billing. Their system could locate some of the inventory, but its efficiency lagged so far behind reality that their annual tool catalogs were out of date by the time they were published. As a result, field crew were wasting money buying replacement tools because they couldn’t find what they needed in the warehouse. Woodruff found they were spending significant amounts of money replacing tools and equipment that weren’t actually lost or worn out — they were just invisible to the low-power telescope that was their tool tracking software.

Solution

After using that tracking system for several years with zero return on investment, Woodruff management knew it was time for a big change. ToolWatch came to the rescue, and dramatic improvement was evident from early in its implementation.

“We selected ToolWatch because we wanted to capture as much overhead cost as possible for accurate job costing and billing,” said Tony Herring, Woodruff field operations manager. “We needed to understand where all costs were coming from, and ToolWatch has given us more visibility into the field. Now we can see what we actually own.” Herring added that Woodruff was already using Sage as its accounting software, so moving overhead costs into job costs was seamless.

“To be able to get a handle on the whole inventory has been an eye-opener for us. We were amazed at how many tools and resources we’ve been able to find.”

Result

Just over a year into implementing ToolWatch, the transitioning stage has been better than expected. Herring had high praise for ToolWatch’s customer service and implementation process. “They came into the office and walked us through everything. Their training is excellent. Their people are helpful and responsive, and they usually respond within a day. ToolWatch is a complete 180 from other platforms I’ve worked with.”

By the end of summer 2019, Herring noted, they could determine the correct rates and costs for everything. Since then, the system has yielded excellent, real-time visibility into how field workers and supervisors find and request tools. Not only that, superintendents and managers have become a lot more aware of what tools are on their job sites and are more diligent about assuring people are actually using them, not replacing them. ToolWatch’s real-time tracking and accounting capability gives project managers tool use data that they can build into their billing. And ToolWatch gives users in the office and the field the flexibility to use the platform as a mobile or desktop application depending on their needs.

“One of the biggest benefits I’ve seen is, instead of just adding a percentage to our labor, we can provide accurate billing rates to customers,” Herring said. Project managers use the billing rate to generate a tool rate sheet so customers can see exactly how much it costs to do their work and provides more transparency. By building costs into estimates when bidding on jobs, they can account for those costs ahead of time instead of charging them to overhead.

Over the long term, tool costs will be slashed, says Woodruff’s controller Eric Monahan. “We’re anticipating $750,000 to $800,000 worth of tool utilization this year. Not all of that is added profit, of course, but we are tracking our tools better and not spending money on tools we don’t need. Now we are job-costing these items instead of sweeping them into a black hole of overhead.”

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The Hillis Group makes the most of ToolWatch — and saved hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost inventory

Problem

The Hillis Group, a pipeline and construction contractor based in Easton, Pennsylvania, was successful and growing, but with that success came a new challenge in tracking and managing its tools. With tools being distributed to more jobsites, it was becoming more complicated to track down tools on various job sites and losses and misplacements were getting out of hand. The company installed ToolWatch in 2017 but had harnessed only a fraction of the system’s powerful features in the belief they only needed better tool tracking capability. As a result, while tool management improved dramatically, most other administrative and cost operations remained business as usual.

Solution

When the Hillis management team saw the results ToolWatch had delivered in managing their tool inventory, they knew it was time to migrate other company functions into the ToolWatch system. About a year after implementing ToolWatch for tool tracking, Hillis hired a new inventory manager, Vinny Fattorusso.

Despite not having extensive experience with sophisticated mobile tracking software, Vinny was able to quickly see the potential of the ToolWatch system for getting inventory management under control. Among his first efforts was to inventory each mobile warehouse. He discovered many tools that were not where they should be, and using ToolWatch, he was able to relocate many items that had been assumed missing and were to be booked as losses. “Even just walking around the warehouse and scanning tools,” Vinny says, “I found items that had been reported missing or stolen. So many things that were reported missing I was able to see by scanning the tool and realized this was the same drill reported missing at said job site.” In his first year, Vinny and his team were able to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars of tools and equipment through the ToolWatch software.

Taking advantage of the seamless interconnectivity of the ToolWatch platform, Vinny worked with his team to establish a reporting system to keep field supervisors in the loop on tool inventory control. Every Monday he issues a tool report for each jobsite so each supervisor and field team can see what tools should be on their job site and what tools are missing.

The custom report includes missing tools and tools and equipment that are expected to be on each jobsite. That way supervisors know what tool or piece of equipment to look for and ask the field team about. “The Monday ToolWatch reports have helped a lot because we’re able to correct things, make sure things are accounted for, and keep everything efficiently moving to each location,” Vinny notes.

Today, Hillis tracks everything that moves, even materials, with ToolWatch. They track the cost and distribution of materials and consumables to each project and job site. They track and bill the mobile warehouse for the trailer on the job site.

Result

Hillis has expanded its use of the ToolWatch platform to full advantage, on both Pro and Mobile apps, including materials management, purchasing/receiving, vendor reporting, inventories, work orders, service schedules, and so much more — all in real time. From anticipating how many paper towels they’ll need to tracking valuable pipeline construction equipment, ToolWatch has given The Hillis Group the tools it needs to maximize inventory, productivity, and profitability in the field and in the home office.

Hillis Inventory Manager Vinny Fattorusso sums up: "The ToolWatch system has become an essential part of our company because we can very easily keep track of tools, equipment, and materials in real time. We can quickly see where all our assets are and make sure the jobs won’t experience delays if they need anything."

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Todd Construction Ups Its Job Cost and Billing Game with ToolWatch Enterprise

Problem

Todd Construction, a Portland, Oregon, construction and general contracting company, was using Sage 300 CRE, a construction project accounting and project management application, to manage its tool rentals in the field. The Sage 300 equipment module could charge tool rent once a month at a preset rate, but that single monthly report was inadequate for real-time tool use and cost tracking. The report also didn’t tell them where the tools were or what they were costing per use.

Todd’s management team knew they had to get a better handle on tracking, costing, and billing, and that meant including everything in the system, not just tool locations. They wanted better tracking and visibility. They wanted people in the field to be able to transfer tools. And especially they wanted to capture tool costs and billing accurately and instantly.

Solution

According to Ken Dixon, Todd Construction’s vice president, “The Sage 300 CRE system worked, but we wanted to up our game.” Upping their game turned out to be getting down with ToolWatch Enterprise. Not only did the platform fulfill every need for tool tracking and costing, it integrated seamlessly with the existing 300 CRE software.

ToolWatch’s powerful job costing capability has been particularly helpful to Todd. “We now know what we need to charge our customers,” Dixon said. “Before ToolWatch, it was difficult to make any direct connection between our actual costs and what we should be charging to recover them.” And instead of waiting until the end of the month for a cost report, they can access detailed information at any time, in real-time.

“To be able to get a handle on the whole inventory has been an eye-opener for us. We were amazed at how many tools and resources we’ve been able to find.”

Result

With ToolWatch, Todd’s tool costing quandary has completely turned around. The company captures tool costs for two reasons, one internal and the other external. Dixon comments, “For fixed-bid projects, we bill tools and equipment to jobs just so field staff remember there is a cost to equipment, whether they use it or not, and the system lets us know when to replace each item. So, we don’t bill full rates to ourselves for that.”

The other big reason for cost capture is the company’s 90/90 rate schedule on cost-plus contracts. Todd guarantees the project owner they’ll be charged no more than 90% of the going rate of equipment rental or 90% of tool cost. “ToolWatch made it possible to set that up to hit those stops,” Dixon explains. The tool manager sets the rental rate and enters it into ToolWatch, which is programmed not to charge the owner more than 90% of the rental costs. “That gives the owner a nice 10% discount, and we can show them what they are saving. If they aren’t using the tool all the time, why bill them three to four times its cost?”

The ability to assign the 90/90 schedule to cost-based jobs has made a difference all around. “It’s a good deal for the project owner, and it’s a good deal for us,” Dixon says.

And as a bonus, Dixon notes, “ToolWatch is a helpful company. I can get the support I need and usually recognize the voice on the support line. I had to do a special report and they were so helpful in getting that report ready.”

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