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How to Keep Track of Tools and Equipment

Business owners often find it challenging to keep track of tools and equipment in their inventory.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to this problem: asset tracking. Proper management of assets can help improve the efficiency and profitability of business operations.

Find out how our asset management system can help you track your tools and equipment, create accountability among your employees, and improve your processes.

What is Asset Tracking?

Asset tracking, also referred to as asset management, is a method of tracking a company’s physical assets.

This process captures the vital information by scanning barcode labels attached to them or using RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags or GPS (global positioning system) to broadcast their location.

Asset tracking is as essential as managing your inventory. However, it’s not just about knowing where your assets are at any given time.

Asset tracking also provides useful information about the assets’ status, maintenance schedule, and ownership.

Information such as these can boost your company’s bottom line, as the monitoring system increases asset control efficiency and reduces equipment loss. You can save time and money for your organization.

Asset tracking includes other details, such as certifications, servicing data, part replacements, that are all collected onto a central database. Our system centralizes all the information, ensuring that records are kept up-to-date and accurate.

As a result, auditing becomes quick and easy for you, as generating compliance reports will only take minutes instead of hours or days.

You can also access all this information anytime and anywhere with a mobile phone application.

Why You Should Use Asset Tracking

We, at Asset.Guru, understand the challenge of managing not just your staff but also your physical assets. That’s why we want to ease your worries by providing you with a system that will give you quick information on what assets you own, where they are, their condition, and who has them.

Tracking your tools and equipment is essential to minimize losses, schedule repair and maintenance, and avoid buying duplicates.

You also need to track your assets better, so you can hold your team accountable if a tool goes missing.

With an asset tracking system, you can quickly check and see who’s the last person who used an item and hold them responsible for its whereabouts.

An asset tracking system can reduce errors and save you a lot of time and money. Other benefits of using this system include:

  • Increased customer value and reduced customer issues or complaints – When you have a documented process for caring for and using things you need to provide top-notch customer service, your customers will be happy. They would feel secure doing business with you, knowing that you are able to manage your inventory well.

  • Streamlined workflows – With all the information located in one database, you and your employees can streamline workflows to work smarter and faster. Asset tracking also makes business processes, like audits, easier.

  • Data transparency – The data in an asset tracking system is available for employees across multiple locations (office or field) and client sites. This information enables the efficient planning and budgeting of projects.

  • Efficient inventory management – The asset tracking system records information on tools and equipment, including their usage,

cost, and location. This record provides an easy reference for inventory management and helps decrease equipment downtime.

Tips for Better Equipment Inventory Management

The inventory provides you with all the details of the tools and equipment you currently own. It helps you maintain control and monitor the status of every item.

A tool tracking system is often implemented to manage the inventory properly and maximize the business’ efficiency. Below are some tips you can use and implement:

Track Equipment Inventory

Keeping track of your equipment is the best first step in managing your inventory, whether for smaller equipment purchases or larger ones.

Even if you have an idea of all the equipment you own, most of the time, you have much more than what your business needs. Tracking the inventory ensures that you allocate the right budget for the inventory.

A central database or tool tracking software can help you list everything you have in your inventory. This system helps reduce theft, as everyone will know if something goes missing.

With the appropriate equipment inventory, you can also stay on top of your work requirements and order equipment correctly when you need it.

Your inventory tracking system should be:

  • Complete – It records all the pieces of equipment you have.

  • Accurate – It provides sufficient information that matters to the business managers and users. These details include asset value, capabilities, serial number, storage location, and warranty information.

  • Up-to-date – An inventory does not stay accurate all the time. That’s why the tracking system should always reflect the changes. It is also important to schedule follow-up audits periodically.

Categorize Tools and Equipment

Once you already know what assets you have, the next step is categorizing your tools and equipment. Doing this can help you point out where tools are kept, who uses them, how they are used, and which tools can be used interchangeably.

When categorizing your equipment inventory, you can place similar or interchangeable tools in the same location for easy accessibility.

You can divide your tools and equipment into different categories that best suit your business model.

  • Divide small tools and large tools

  • Classify tools according to different types

  • Sort by different brands

  • Identify the use for the tool (e.g., indoor or outdoor)

  • Organize tools by job sites

You can categorize tools and equipment in whichever way you prefer. You can also add information on the equipment’s status, date of purchase, and warranty expiration date.

Tag and Differentiate Individual Items

Track, locate, and identify each tool you have by tagging individual items in your inventory list.

There are various ways you can tag and differentiate equipment from one another. The most common examples are barcodes, RFID asset tags, and QR codes. All of these options have their unique ways of storing tool and equipment information.

Barcodes are a low-cost option, especially if you have a small business, and you only need a basic tool identification.

As tools are presented inside the locker or at the access control terminal, an infrared scanner reads tags one at a time.

Barcodes are suitable for short-term use because tags wear down and become less readable.

The barcode’s unique identifiers also have some limitations. For that reason, a business with large amounts of tools may find QR codes more suitable.

QR (quick response) codes are two-dimensional barcodes that are quickly readable by mobile devices. These codes contain data that points to a website or a mobile app.

QR codes have unique, identifying characters to ensure that no tool or equipment has the same code or identifier. The data is always unique to an individual asset.

RFID (radio frequency identification) tags are more durable but can be more expensive than barcode tag systems.

RFID tags are battery-free and are read by short-range wireless scanners. They identify each asset by reading the unique data found on the tag.

You can scan multiple RFID tags at once within the same storage compartment.

Keep Track of Equipment Usage

Know which tools or equipment are being used more, how much they are being used, when and where they are used, and who uses them.

Tracking your equipment usage will help you identify which tools to prioritize by requirement, so you don’t have to spend extra money unless needed.

If one of the tools gets stolen, you’ll also have a record of who was the last person who used it, when they used it, and where they last used the tool.

It is important to keep track of this information as the cost of lost tools can add up over time. Knowing what tools you have and how they are used lets you make improvements and better decisions on your future equipment management strategy.

Track Repairs, Maintenance, and Warranties

If you’re using a particular tool every day, it’s more likely to require maintenance. Another useful feature of inventory management software is that it helps you monitor which pieces of equipment are still under warranty.

When you have information on the equipment usage, you will know when you need to service your tools. You can organize and plan for their repair and maintenance accordingly.

If the equipment is under the manufacturer’s warranty, you can maintain or repair them for free. You get to save money on servicing or replacing a tool or equipment you just purchased.

Money saved can be added to your budget for other expenses, like buying other tools or equipment that you really need.

Employee Equipment Usage Accountability

You can reduce counting errors and thefts by holding your employees accountable for every tool and equipment they use. Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Use a tool management system – Instead of a manual record, let your employees use a tool management system. This technology allows them to do a self-service check-in or check-out every time they use a tool or equipment.

    You can assign tools by names of employees, job code, project number, location, date, time, or other categories.

    By using the system, you can generate a report of projects where specific tools are being used and the staff using them.

  • Explain the system’s functionalities – Once you have chosen an equipment tracking solution, bring your employees up to speed by explaining how the system functions.

    You can set up an equipment handling and usage chart, so everyone in the workplace will have a better understanding of how each tool and equipment works.

  • Make a tool and equipment handling agreement – Make sure your employees understand the accountability that comes with using a particular tool.

    Remind them about established company policies related to theft and the consequences involved.

  • Issue rewards and fines – You can issue rewards for employees for exceptional tool handling. These rewards will motivate your employees to handle tools and equipment better.

    Meanwhile, fines may be imposed on employees who don’t follow the rules. Those who frequently lose tools may pay for the tools and equipment out of their paycheck.

Asset Management Solution

Keeping track of information using pen and paper or spreadsheets can work for small businesses. For example, you can use an equipment signout form to know who’s currently using the tool.

However, these methods have their own drawbacks, like manual logging errors, limited data analysis, and the hassle of keeping data up to date.

Using an inventory management system helps reduce inventory errors and increases the safety of tools and equipment.

A cloud-based software solution for tool tracking automates a lot of background work, allowing you to focus on the more important things.

The software provides real-time asset data, so you see any updates right away.

Benefits of Asset Tracking Software or System

Cloud Connectivity

Storing data on a single disk is a big security risk. Cloud-based solutions provide users with flexibility and allow access to data from anywhere.

Cloud-based apps use encryption to process, store, and access data online, while firewalls add another layer of security.

Cloud-based solutions deliver control and visibility of all your assets. This platform also makes it easier for you to see updates immediately across various devices.

Equipment Scanning (Check In and Check Out)

An asset tracking software offers more flexibility by letting you use your smartphone for checking in and checking out tools and equipment.

Being able to manage your assets will make it easier for you to allocate equipment and know who’s responsible for it.

Unique Identification Codes

Barcodes, serial numbers, and QR codes are a few examples of unique identifying information. With an asset tracking software, you can use codes to tag and categorize assets.

It can be difficult to track assets of multiple entities. To avoid this headache, unique identifiers are used to ensure that information is mapped to the asset and remains in place.

Automation Requirements

There are many ways to configure the software. You can look for a program that best suits your automation needs. You can also get automatic database alerts and checking status alerts.

For example, the asset tracking system can send alerts if a particular tool is not returned on time. The system can create a roster for issued assets with information on who issued them.

Tool Reservation

Some companies with multiple ongoing projects find tool reservation an important factor, especially when there’s a short supply of expensive tools.

A software solution can use data science and machine learning algorithms to help with decision-making and ensure the tools’ optimum usage.

Machine learning algorithms can track and identify ideal repair and maintenance times for vital equipment. It helps keep service disruption and delays at a minimum.

Maintenance Schedules

One of the reasons why businesses fall behind in their maintenance management could be because they track their schedules using manual methods.

Asset tracking software can help you streamline your maintenance schedules, especially if some of your assets require ongoing or periodic maintenance.

The system can create reminders and alert employees about scheduled maintenance to ensure there’ll be no delays.

These simple but much-needed alerts can save you money and time on asset servicing.

Asset Lifecycle

You can use an asset tracking software or system to manage the lifecycle of your assets and improve the efficiency and accuracy of regular maintenance.

The system reports asset status and mechanical health based on usage metrics in near real-time.

Asset tracking helps business owners like you keep assets in optimal condition, improving equipment productivity, on-the-job safety, and overall work efficiency.

Asset Audits

An asset tracker helps you perform audits to increase your assets’ visibility and reduce risks of compliance.

The system provides accurate, real-time information to keep track of where your assets are, how they are performing, and how they are depreciating. You can use this data to make smarter financial decisions.

The Evolution of Asset Tracking

Today’s complex asset management systems probably started from a very simple question like, “Where in the world is that forklift when we need it?”

The need for a more efficient way of tracking tools and equipment originated from the frustrations of managers and foremen who were probably exhausted from the constant need to search for what they need when they need it.

Even worse, if and when they finally locate what they need, they may find that the tool or equipment to be useless, due to disrepair and/or missed maintenance schedules.

Businesses eventually realized that they needed a way to manage and track their goods as they were transported and stored. Processes for record-keeping, transactions, and inventory tracking were developed and done manually.

Technology brought new and exciting innovations in logistics planning, enabling companies to improve their inventory management. Companies were able to track their goods and inventory more efficiently using computers.

In the 1980s, the use of Excel spreadsheets and map-based interfaces allowed for more efficient tracking. However, there are lots of limitations to spreadsheets.

For instance, once you’ve added in depreciation, current value, maintenance schedules, and insurance information into one spreadsheet, your sheets have suddenly multiplied.

By the early 2000s, businesses started using ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems for supply chain management and logistics tracking.

Currently, asset tracking solutions allow businesses to track their assets for greater control and visibility remotely.

There are different ways to track assets, including Bluetooth, GPS tracking, and QR (quick response) code.

Instead of finding an asset in a spreadsheet, you only need to scan the equipment to edit its status or condition and update its location.

Asset tracking also increases the accountability of employees that use your tools and equipment.

Keep Track of Your Assets with Asset.Guru

Manage your tools and equipment with us. We cater best to the middle market or fast growing small businesses.

Asset.Guru’s cloud-based platform provides real-time documentation records on all your tools and equipment. Track all this information from anywhere, using your computer or smartphone.

By tracking certifications, maintenance records, and asset performance, you can get the true net worth of your company assets.

Whether you’re a NetSuite, Xero, QuickBooks Online (QBO), or SAP user, Asset.Guru provides you with automated depreciation calculations and reporting options.

Register for a free trial or book a demo to learn more about tracking and managing your assets with Asset.Guru.

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