Imagine trying to find one, single specialized tool or part in a depot crammed full of thousands of items. It would be a nearly impossible task to find anything without an inventory control system tracking critical information in real-time. Also imagine that without that part or tool, critical parts of your production or maintenance operations come to a halt. The costs associated to idle workers, alone, can spiral out of control.
Poor inventory management and execution significantly impacts business. Research shows struggling to manage inventory, like raw materials, cycle inventory in maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) supplies, is among the top reasons why these businesses fail. To maintain optimal inventory levels, businesses must correctly forecast demand based on historical data while also monitoring external trends.
Effectively Manage Tools and Equipment with Field Inventory – Tracker™
Companies across the world have chosen to implement Cloud Inventory®’s Field Inventory – Tracker™ to help keep track of where their tools and supplies are in real-time.
The Tool Tracker application was built specifically to keep track of tools across various locations or jobsites. Field Inventory’s tool tracking solutions are cloud-based, allowing companies to integrate valuable data from across multiple branches or locations to get an accurate, timely assessment of needs, such as repairs or efficient distribution of tools.
Another key feature of Field Inventory’s tool tracking application is its two-way tool assignment confirmation feature, which allows the warehouse to assign tools to employees, and also allows employees to assign tools themselves. This feature maximizes self-sufficiency of employees in the field, allowing those on site to make decisions in real-time. In addition to saving time, utilizing the tool tracking feature allows real-time visibility into what is not used or needed so it can be redistributed quickly and efficiently, saving the company money.
Field Inventory’s tool tracking application also gives users the ability to locate tools and transfer from jobsite to jobsite, or crew to crew, without losing accountability or having to return them to a centralized jobsite. By streamlining this process, companies are able to move quickly and efficiently while working different jobsites.
How Field Inventory – Tracker™ Improves Productivity
Some businesses struggle to keep enough inventory on hand or just to keep track of what they already have. This means they are unable to meet customer or production expectations by not having enough available items, which likely will lead to a bad customer experience or even worse, could shut down operations altogether. Parts and tools are the life blood of manufacturing and maintenance facilities, recent examples in our local Kansas City news are an alarming reminder of how just a few small parts can bring a business to its knees.
General Motors (GM) recently had to shutter multiple assembly plants including one in Kansas City due to a severe shortage of semiconductor chips used in various vehicle parts which directly affected vehicle production. The Detroit Free Press reports GM expects losses from the chip shortage to cost the company $1.5 to 2 billion. Overall, the present chip shortages are expected to cost the global auto industry $14.3 billion or more in revenues in the first quarter alone, and $60.6 billion for the year. The semiconductor shortage highlights the fragile nature of the supply chain and how easily things can change on a moment’s notice. By ensuring enough inventory is on hand at all times, companies can be better prepared for unexpected surprises.
Tool and Parts Tracking is Also Critical in the Field
Accurate visibility into the state, location, and authenticity of where tools and parts are in real-time is a proven game changer for field operations. This is especially true when specialized items are needed to complete a job. With a comprehensive, real-time view of inventory (parts, tools, assets, equipment and materials) across all locations, management is able to decrease idle time and hold employees accountable for the items used on job sites or roaming around in technicians’ vehicles. All too often these parts can get lost or go missing in the day to day, resulting in costly delays and can also impact equipment productivity.
One such example is a gas compression company who services their equipment in the field. This equipment is dispersed over large geographic regions and requires specialized parts such as spark plugs to keep their equipment running in top condition. These spark plugs can cost $250 each or more and had become valuable commodities for the field technicians to squirrel away. The company was losing visibility by costing these items when they went on the trucks, resulting in hoarding of items and potentially out-of-stock conditions. This company was forced to purchase additional expensive safety stock to overcome this challenge. By better tracking where each spark plug, and other parts are, the company is able to keep their machines running and costs under control. What’s your spark plug?
Always Connected Isn’t Reality
While we’re more connected today than ever before with 4 and 5G internet, outages, areas of marginal coverage and remote worksite locations mean disconnected operations are an inevitability. Planning for offline operations keeps your field technicians working no matter the circumstances.
Field Inventory is designed from the ground up to work both on and offline. This creates the ability for data to be segmented by team or individual, ensuring they have the information to be able to do their job anytime, anywhere.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Field Inventory’s tool tracking solutions are built to be accurate, easy to implement, and easy to use by employees. Tool tracking enabled applications are designed to be easily used with a tablet or smartphone, allowing employees in the field access to data as easily as employees in the warehouse. Additionally, a persona-based user-interface enables each user to access only the information they need. This streamlined approach to accessing inventory data means that field technicians can quickly communicate with the back office about which tools are being used or are needed on site, allowing them to prioritize the relevant adjustments to tool distribution for optimal productivity.
Because these gains in productivity stem from easy-to-implement, cloud-based technology, they come at minimal cost. With an efficient implementation of Field Inventory, tool tracking quickly becomes a revenue generator. The tool tracking solutions offered by Field Inventory can be easily integrated with your existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, so you don’t need to plan costly and time-consuming overhauls to start realizing the benefits of real-time inventory control. Offering easy integration with legacy systems and intuitive mobile accessibility to valuable inventory data, Field Inventory provides both cost-saving stability and the agility to assess and respond to the unexpected.
With the integration of Field Inventory, companies benefit from improved inventory accuracy, generating increased productivity and revenue generation as our customers eliminate costly inefficiencies in their distribution of resources and are able to complete more work in less time.