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    Equipment Tracking and Management


Equipment Tracking and Management 

The distinction between equipment and tools is often not clearly understood, on many job sites the terms can be used interchangeably. Equipment is more expensive with moving parts that have a much higher level of service and maintenance requirements. Something like an ordinary shovel is an example of a tool while an air compressor would be a good example of a piece of equipment. The increased cost, maintenance requirements, and productivity potential of equipment distinguishes it from tool tracking and makes equipment tracking and management an essential part of running a job site at peak levels of productivity. 

Without the ability to manage, track, and ensure the proper functioning of expensive pieces of equipment any construction company is leaving potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table in the form of lost or stolen equipment, productivity delays due to mismanagement of supply chains, and a lack of an in-depth understanding of your company’s operations in absence of the services offered by a modern equipment tracking and management system. A sufficiently advanced equipment tracking and management system will help modern construction companies in a variety of ways. From improving safety standards on an organizational level, reducing unnecessary expenses, or boosting productivity through analytics capabilities and workforce management tools that help to avoid delays, and inventory shortages. . Within this guide we hope to demonstrate that the value of equipment tracking and management goes far beyond just the simple monitoring of inventory and enables a complete transformation in the management of every element of construction operations. 

Critical Differences Between Equipment Tracking and Tool Tracking

Equipment tracking is similar to tool tracking, but with a few crucial differences:

  • Equipment tends to be more expensive than tools, thus mismanagement of equipment can lead to ballooning costs that destroy bottom lines.
  • Equipment is often more mobile than tools, like dump trucks, and requires better tracking to be properly managed.
  • Equipment generally requires more maintenance than tools.

Assets often moved or transported from one location to another (e.g., portable generators, vehicles, and trailers) can be difficult to track if you don't have the right equipment management technology.

A solid equipment tracking solution will help you manage the lifecycle of your equipment. For example, you'll know when it's due for service, maintenance, or inspection, how often employees use it, and whether it needs to be replaced or upgraded due to wear and tear. Companies of all sizes need to track their equipment and manage their in-house inventory from the smallest business to the largest corporation. Modern equipment tracking uses software to record equipment life cycle and maintenance records. The information this system collects and records is invaluable for managing inventory, safety standards, equipment, tool cribs, etc. It also offers ways for users to digitally track the location of pieces of equipment that have been physically tagged. It stores asset information and inventory data and can alert managers when stock runs low, ensuring inventory shortages are avoided. For example, it helps ensure scheduled maintenance is completed on time. In addition, you can set up alerts and notifications to automatically assign the appropriate personnel to tasks when new work orders are created. It also updates information about equipment conditions, age, and more that are entered and stored in the system, not to mention running reports and calculating machinery depreciation. With the help of digital tracking, you can prevent equipment problems and breakdowns before they start, so working on a job is never a wildcard. 

Key Benefits of Equipment Tracking and Management

Let’s look at some of the most important benefits of effective equipment tracking and management:

  • First, operational efficiency - increase revenue while lowering costs.
  • Second, better informed decision-making - Data will help guide strategic decision making on an organizational level. 
  • Third, reduce capital expenditures - effective management lowers costs.
  • Fourth, proactive maintenance - prevent breakdowns by staying on top of maintenance schedules.

Monitor Resources with Equipment Tracking

Equipment tracking allows you to monitor your organization's resources to ensure that all of your assets deliver a return on investment. Another reason is to make sure that expensive equipment isn’t stolen or lost, requiring expensive replacements to be needlessly ordered... It also allows managers to schedule service and maintenance requirements and complete compliance inspections and calibrations, saving time and ensuring equipment is in peak condition helping to improve efficiency and safety. ToolWatch recently acquired Safety Reports one of the industries leading safety solutions. 

Improve Operational Efficiencies with Equipment Tracking

Equipment tracking should enable your company to reduce delivery times, improve the utilization of your equipment, and save thousands of dollars in capital. You can analyze the movement of equipment from purchase through movement between job sites and warehouses, helping to avoid delays and ensuring that essential equipment cannot be lost, misplaced, or stolen to prevent your workers from having the equipment they need when they need it.

Choosing a solution for tracking your assets is the first step, but robust strategies and tactics are the best way to ensure a seamless implementation. From identifying existing assets to understanding your organization's needs, these tips will help you implement the most comprehensive plans.

As you can see, there is a lot to be gained by using formalized equipment tracking and management methods. By using equipment tracking software to help you manage the lifecycle of your equipment, you are more likely to save money, have all tools in working order for your crews, and be on top of depreciation for new purchases. The future outlook looks bright for companies that choose to adopt a capable system backed by organizational buy-in from leadership to warehouse and field teams. 

Equipment Chain Management

Valuable equipment goes through huge amounts of movement and change in its lifecycle from purchase through utilization and movement between job sites. Modern companies must manage a plethora of moving pieces at any job site. Using old-fashioned equipment management practices will almost inevitably lead to equipment being lost, stolen, or mishandled in a variety of ways. A modern equipment management system will help improve the supply chain management of any construction companies’ equipment fleet. The ability for warehouse and back-office teams to track the location and movement of equipment allows inventory shortages and delays to be spotted before they can occur, saving thousands in lost labor costs from delays caused by missing or faulty equipment. The transfer of equipment within and between job sites often requires staff to take note of each movement and spend valuable time and energy to make sure that everything is accounted for. Modern systems can rely on GPS, barcode, RFID, and BLE tracking technology to seamlessly keep track of equipment without needing extra levels of oversight from staff while also reducing the possibility of human error with automated technologies. This insight allows for much easier management of this equipment and can help reduce delivery times for equipment from days and weeks to hours and minutes. 

This tracking technology also helps to improve job site safety standards by automatically recording and monitoring the condition of equipment while notifying warehouse staff whenever equipment falls below certain safety standards or begins to approach the end of its useful life cycle. With expensive equipment, being able to keep multiple copies of the same equipment isn’t feasible for companies that want to keep expenses low. With modern equipment tracking and management systems you can be sure that your equipment will be ready to work at full capacity when it’s needed while keeping expenses low and not having to sacrifice quality or risking unexpected breakdowns or delays.  Less modern systems often rely on simple utilization formulas to keep track of equipment condition and billing. Needless to say, when applied to large inventories these formulas rely on significant levels of assumption that can miss the mark in a lot of cases and result in unexpected breakdowns and lost inventory with no warning.

With the GPS telematics offered by modern systems not only can equipment location and condition be accurately tracked but equipment utilization can be tracked to ensure that equipment is being properly utilized while also ensuring accurate billing and usage information is being delivered. With heavy equipment often being very expensive every hour on the job site counts, teams with access to important equipment can be more easily managed to ensure efficiency that pushes jobs over the finish line and ensures that needless expenses don’t pile up from billed equipment sitting unused. This not only helps to keep internal costs under control but allows companies to deliver their services at better prices to clients while maintaining everyone's bottom line.

Modern companies require complex supply chains that involve the movement of countless materials to, from, and in-between job sites and warehouses. Without the aid of a modern equipment management system the energy, resources, manpower, and time needed to accurately keep track of all these moving pieces is almost endless. A modern equipment management system not only severely cuts down on the resources needed to track and manage all of this, but it also automates many of these processes to save time, remove the element of human error, improve job cost and billing accuracy, and saves money while improving organizational efficiency across field, warehouse, and back office teams.

Conclusion: The Future of Construction 

Technology advancements are disrupting the construction industry for the better by unlocking new and more efficient ways of building that bring costs and schedules down, drive productivity, quality, and safety up, and improve construction companies competitiveness and margins. Modern equipment management systems - those that go beyond just tracking equipment locations - are one of those technologies. And the companies that embrace them will benefit while those that keep doing things the way they have always been done will become less competitive and ultimately less relevant as construction is transformed by technology

Interested in learning more about incorporating equipment tracking and management into your organization?
Contact ToolWatch today to start managing your construction assets for a more prosperous business.

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