Looking for tools and equipment in all the wrong places?
The extent and nature of on-site theft from and vandalism to building sites throughout Australia have become a growing concern. The adverse effects include the inevitable costs of hiring or replacing stolen/damaged items, insurance excess payments, project delays and the added expense of improving security to protect against further damage.
Theft and vandalism at building sites; the risk and rates
Residential building sites are increasingly becoming targets of theft and vandalism. The victims of these crimes incur considerable costs and delays to the detriment of their businesses. The adverse effects include the cost of hiring or replacing stolen items, insurance excess payments and the added expense of improving security to protect against further damage. https://aic.gov.au/publications/tbp/tbp029
- 19 per cent experienced theft
- 13 per cent experienced both theft and vandalism
- 65 per cent of theft victims and 66 per cent of vandalism victims had experienced more than once incident
- Risk of theft and vandalism generally rose with increasing numbers of staff and the amount of annual turnover
Theft prevention technology
While some lost tools and equipment are due to mismanagement and poor tracking, theft is a serious concern. Barcode labelling using anti-theft designs (tamper-evident or tamper-proof materials) or RFID tags will create a more secure environment. Making detecting and resolving theft situations much easier.
While large, high-valued, equipment theft attracts the majority of theft, there is less focus on smaller tools and equipment. And these are unlikely to be insured, less likely to be recovered, but still cost your business in both time and money.
Missing smaller tools and equipment don’t usually get noticed until it is needed for a task. This causes job disruption, employee dissatisfaction and extra business costs such as additional labour, lease hire/fees and delays that can cost MORE than the original purchase price of the item(s)!
While tracking systems cannot completely prevent theft, this blog highlights some best practices that can be implemented to help reduce exposure to tool and equipment theft.
Unfortunately, for businesses that rely on their tools and equipment to meet their business objectives, missing items are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to problems faced without a robust, powerful tool and equipment tracking solution.
Take advantage of the latest tracking technology
Refining your tool tracking and equipment tracking processes will provide efficiencies, compliance and reduce theft. And although equipment tracking software is not a security system, it is a valuable tool to help team members take steps to prevent possible theft or misplacement.
Managers need to meet the business objectives of operating and maintaining a sustainable business with as little disruption as possible. Support productive and effective work order management, inspections and inventory management, so field teams can deliver responsive and efficient services.
Tools and equipment utilisation and maintenance management reduce the impact on productivity arising out of missed calibrations and maintenance events. Discourages possible misuse by employees and generates accountability for the tools and equipment they use. Creating huge savings on otherwise “lost” items.
Drive efficiencies and deter theft
Drive efficiencies and deter theft by tagging, tracking and regularly auditing your tools and equipment. When you utilise cutting edge identification and mobile tracking technologies, you build a digital management solution that ensures all data is current and accurate. It doesn’t matter if you use RFID, barcodes or QR codes. You can facilitate wall-to-wall audits, self-audits, issues and returns (check-in/out) quickly and accurately (with a full audit trail) if using a comprehensive equipment tracking solution.
Barcode labels and RFID tags are overt methods to alert thieves that your assets are protected, being tracked and are not safe to steal!
Access for all – with specific data permissions
Disseminating your tools and equipment tracking system to all employees via the adoption of mobile apps has clear benefits, in both accountability and time savings. Employees can scan, view, issue and return (check-in/out), add performance comments and create work orders, all from their mobile devices.
Managers can refine operations within the tools and equipment tracking system to restrict or allow individual users access to information depending on their job function. For instance, you wouldn’t want your engineers to access purchasing information. With employees having direct access to certain processes in your tools and equipment tracking system, an effortless, automatic and real-time account is kept. Managers will save time chasing assets or distributing them!
Tools and equipment ownership and movements
Flexibility in assigning tools and equipment allows for an item to be issued to a person (ownership) and/or location (physical location item is to be assigned to). The tracking of subsequent movements, when the item is loaned out to other employees/locations assists with management decisions around utilisation.
In addition to facilitating better tools and equipment utilisation, your tools and equipment register also reduces potential impact on productivity arising out of tool losses and missed calibration or maintenance events.
Get the most out of your tools and equipment
Over the life-cycle of your tools and equipment, they will require regular maintenance, repair and/or calibrations. Recording this information within a tracking system allows for comprehensive reporting and superior insights for the business regarding replacement strategies.
Better lifecycle management of tools and equipment has been identified by business process engineers as a simple and effective method of improving bottom-line performance in industries where large and small tools represent a significant capital investment.
Implementing a single source of truth
ADNOC Gas Processing (formerly GASCO), a natural gas producing company of Abu Dhabi, has gained significantly from implementing a single source of truth around their tools and equipment. From improved inventory control and audit procedures to accurate audit trails. Every department has seen improvements. From enhanced purchasing and warranty control, equipment planning and replacement, to improved preventative maintenance, with less reactive repairs. Hardcat has reduced labour and administration costs; reduced insurance and disaster recovery costs.
Since 2014 ADNOC Gas Processing has been tracking the usage of thousands of tool and equipment assets in the centralised main tool room area of its Habshan 5 Plan in UAE.https://pacetoday.com.au/software-from-hardcat-supports-process-driven-tools-management/
Centralised tools and equipment tracking
Hardcat tools and equipment tracking software collects, tracks and reports on a wealth of information about each item. Information held against each item can be accessed and sorted by virtually any field and each item can have as many as 10,500 associated fields that you can define. Basically, you self-configure Hardcat to store the information you want to track on your tools and equipment items.
Ensure warranty claims aren’t missed, tools and equipment are in working order and being utilised to their optimum. Letting supervisors and management know exactly where tools and equipment are located, where they have been, and who has been responsible for them at any given time.
Read more on tools management and equipment management
Hardcat’s tools and equipment tracking software is an extremely scalable solution accommodating businesses with a few hundred items to those with several hundred thousand.
- user-defined dashboards and alerts
- automatic scheduling of common tasks
- work orders issued automatically for maintenance, inspections and calibrations
- track inventory, consumables and replacement stock
- at-a-glance view of item location, utilisation, ownership and consumption
- better transparency on tool and equipment usage
- timely alerts for scheduled maintenance events and inventory levels
- visualise critical assets, tools and equipment on a map
“We’ve been using Hardcat for over 10 years now,” Beckmann said. “It allows us to track every aspect of procurement, repair, maintenance job allocation and costs for the island’s major assets so that we can continually improve the quality of engineering services that we deliver to the business. We mainly use Hardcat as a job log-in and preventative maintenance system but it is also used to track activity in our purchasing department and for managing financial control.”https://www.hardcat.com/2018/06/14/hayman-island-case-study/