Tool management – going beyond the basics

If you could scrutinize the cost of your yearly tooling expenses, you might be surprised at what you are really spending. Typically your tooling assets – perishable, durable, fixturing, dies, moulds, gauges, assembly, form tools etc. can represent up to one-third of your company’s manufacturing investment.

The basic rule is to “know where all your tools are” but real tool activity and usage tracking provides a structure to report on a wealth of information about each piece of equipment.

Advanced tool management solutions track all tools and items using unique identification tagging whilst generating detailed records for staff members as well as external contractors. Better tool utilisation and lifecycle management reduces the impact on productivity arising out of tool losses, missed calibration and maintenance events and discourages possible misuse by employees, generating accountability for the tools they use and huge savings on otherwise lost equipment.

Why automate Tool Management?

Because automation ensures your tools are ordered on time, you have sufficient quantities in stock, and tools are visible at all times through tracking reports and are accountable.

Hardcat Tool Manager is an extremely scalable system that can be used by SQL, Sybase or Oracle databases. The smartphone app MiCat available on iOS or Android mobile devices allows for dynamic tool management to happen in the field and on job sites, saving time and money by increasing productivity.

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Information held against each item can be accessed and sorted by virtually any field, with each item in the database having as many as up to 9,999 customisable fields to allow you to manage all operational criteria. Increased transparency on tool usage, efficient notification of events such as scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, and producing reports that provide genuine business value on the utilisation of tool assets.

Simple and detailed reporting with user-defined dashboards and alerts, offering users complete visibility and control of their tool inventory; automatic scheduling of common tasks or templates allowed with work orders issued automatically for maintenance, inspections and calibrations on all tools; and tracking of all consumables and replacement stock for at-a-glance view of tool’s location, utilisation, user and consumption.

Abu Dhabi Gas Industries (Gasco) case study

The Abu Dhabi-based company Gasco uses Hardcat Tool Manager to track the usage of over 6000 tool assets in 319 categories by 287 staff in the centralised tool room of its Habshan 5 Plan in UAE. The tools range from small hand tools to chain hoists and large scale maintenance equipment. For more information read press release here

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The benefits

  • Better control of inventory allocations and usage to avoid waste
  • Automated audit processes to reduce time and cost whilst keeping an accurate historical audit trail
  • Making more informed procurement decisions based on what they have and what is due for replacement
  • Better planning, forecasting, budgeting and decisions able to be made with better asset data
  • More accurate and consistent maintenance regimes with automated work orders, ensuring warranty and manufacturer compliance
  • Improving the safety of equipment utilised by staff reducing risk
  • Reducing insurance and disaster recovery costs as well as administrative and labour costs, whilst improving the entire process and governance

Royal Melbourne Hospital Case Study

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RMH‘s clinical engineering department uses Hardcat for its medical equipment maintenance. Established in 1848, RMH is one of Victoria’s leading clinical and teaching hospitals. Its two city campuses utilise a large array of medical equipment for diagnosis, treatment, surgical procedures and recovery. As its core objective, RMH’s Clinical Engineering Department (CED) is trusted with ensuring that over 10,000 individual assets are locatable, maintained, tested and in a reliable working condition at all times.

Its inventory includes everything from residual current devices protecting electric power outlets, through to patient monitoring systems in critical care environments. Many of these items are portable and used across multiple departments within the organisation’s two hospitals, dispersed satellite clinics and Aged Care facilities. Read the case study.

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