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What to Look for in Equipment Rental Software

March 28th, 2017   |   Posted by: superadmin

Heavy equipment rentals across the U.S. are increasing, according to a three-year survey by purchasing.com that included over 70,000 construction professionals. From 2011 to 2014, compact truck loader rentals skyrocketed by 925 percent. Forklift rentals increased by 90 percent. Renting construction equipment may not be the right choice for every company; however, construction is a project-based industry and renting equipment can provide many companies with immediate benefits. This not only includes the companies in need of heavy equipment rentals, but the companies providing the service as well.

Whether you’re a construction firm looking to leverage your equipment inventory by renting to contractors, or a company that already rents equipment but is looking to upgrade to a better system, you should choose an equipment rental software that makes the rental process as efficient as possible.

Multi-Functionality Equipment Rental Software

For companies that rent heavy equipment, the right software should have a multitude of features. It should provide the ability to:
 

  • Accurately manage rental inventory: The software should keep track of all equipment rental items, allowing users to see instantly whether an item is available to rent or if it is already out. The best equipment rental software uses data gained through radio frequency identification (RFID) and/or barcode systems to track tools and equipment and to automatically calculate rental rates and reports.
  • Set rental rates and discounts: Users should be able to create as many asset rental rate sheets as they desire, setting hourly, daily, weekly and monthly rates as needed. The software should also calculate the best rate for each item, including items for contractors who are eligible for a discount.
  • Set sales prices: If you sell equipment in addition to renting, the software should allow you to manage your sales prices as well as any markups or discounts.
  • Automate rental billing: The software should easily print a list of charges for each asset, including any miscellaneous fees associated with the rental.

Automating rental rates, reports and more while providing constant visibility into rental inventory results in a robust solution that’s likely to meet the needs of any company that rents or sells equipment to either in-house departments, divisions within the company, or outside contractors.

Tailor-Made Construction Rental Software

According to the American Rental Association, the equipment rental industry is on track to see a revenue increase of at least 7 percent through 2018. With this increase comes a need for a customizable solution that meets the unique needs of whatever company is implementing it. The best equipment rental software should handle calculations, reporting, and inventory tracking according to a company’s own specifications, saving them time and money.

Put a Powerful Equipment Rental Software to Work

Some software is ready to use right out of the box, once again saving time with a low learning curve. When coupled with an RFID-based inventory management system, these construction rental software solutions can vastly improve the bottom line for any equipment rental service. When you choose the right equipment rental software for your company, it will optimize your operations by streamlining and automating nearly every step of the process.

Getting in Control of Your Tool Inventory Maintenance

March 21st, 2017   |   Posted by: superadmin

Construction, mining and manufacturing professionals know how important it is to maintain tools and equipment. But with tight budgets, constant deadlines, a tough economy and many other issues to deal with, preventative maintenance (PM) can be one of the first things operations start falling behind on. Without sticking diligently to a regularly scheduled maintenance plan, preventative tasks can end up being performed irregularly or not at all. Not to mention, whenever time is scheduled for maintenance, PM often takes a backseat to more immediate and urgent repair and maintenance needs.

Any company that’s neglecting PM, though, is putting a lot at risk. For example, here are just some of the most important benefits of a well-maintained tool inventory:
 

  • Worker safety – a top priority on any jobsite – is greatly improved when tool inventory undergoes rigorous and consistent maintenance.
  • Laborers in factories and other facilities rely on well-maintained tools to get the job done. When a tool begins to fail, it will take longer to complete certain tasks that could be done in less time with properly functioning equipment.
  • PM ensures compliance with safety regulations. If the Occupational Safety and Health Administration performs an inspection to find that workers are using unmaintained machinery, stiff financial penalties could result.
  • Well-maintained tools save money. Good maintenance means that tools will last longer before they need to be replaced, which can result in higher profits and more competitive pricing.

Luckily, there are solutions available that can help organizations get control of both their preventative and urgent maintenance. RFID tool and equipment tracking systems help ensure equipment maintenance is performed on time and correctly, as well as tracking maintenance history.

How RFID Equipment and Tool Inventory Tracking Can Help

Advanced RFID tool and equipment tracking systems like ToolHound offer a variety of features to assist in maintenance tasks. Here are a few of the most important features currently available:
 

  • Tracking Service Tasks: Operators can input different service requirements for all tasks that need to be performed regarding different tools and machinery. Those tasks will include detailed descriptions that other workers can use for future reference.
  • Track Work Orders: Create work orders and track their statuses. Find out what work orders have been requested, approved by a manager, are in process or have been completed.
  • Track Service Due Dates: Track the service due dates for each piece of machinery and each tool. Create time intervals for servicing, or automatically create service times based on the number of uses, or based on machinery meter readings.
  • Track Safety Equipment: Make sure that safety equipment has received appropriate servicing in accordance with industry and government safety regulations. Ensure that no safety standards required by the law are overlooked.
  • Track Required Equipment and Material Listings: Ensure that different materials and equipment are exactly where they need to be when workers need them most.
  • Create Multiple Reports: At the touch of a button, generate reports with information and statistics related to outstanding repairs, service due dates, maintenance histories, meter readings, and other information regarding all the machinery and tools in your operation.

ToolHound’s Real-World Preventative Maintenance Benefits

ToolHound’s Maintenance Module provides all the benefits listed above, and more. In fact, this module has already helped a leading electricity and natural gas services provider achieve cost savings by increasing their tool inventory visibility and getting their PM under control. The energy company is using ToolHound to track and maintain over 5,000 tools, vehicles and computers. Their tooling coordinator has said, “the cost saving is immeasurable when you need to find a tool for a job. We also use [ToolHound] to track all of our vehicles and the maintenance on them. This was always difficult to do before ToolHound because they are traveling to so many different locations. We also feel using the program has improved the safety of our tools and trucks because the maintenance is being done on a regular basis.”

ToolHound can provide your company with the same benefits and features, including equipment service due dates, outstanding repairs, maintenance and repair histories, meter readings and much more to improve your bottom line and optimize your preventative maintenance. Contact us today to learn more about this breakthrough technology.

How Tool Tracking Creates a Lean Mining Operation

February 28th, 2017   |   Posted by: superadmin

tool trackingLean manufacturing is a concept that’s been around for generations. Some say it began with Eli Whitney’s concept of interchangeable parts; however, many consider Henry Ford the first practitioner of lean manufacturing, followed by Chevrolet’s Alfred Sloan.

After World War II, factory owners in Japan started adopting many of the production and quality techniques found in the United States. For example, Henry Ford’s manufacturing processes and Edwards Deming’s Quality Control ideas would become the foundation for the Toyota Production System. Often referred to as Just-in-time (JIT) production, it did differ from the American automotive industry in one principle: Toyota encouraged its employees to become part of the manufacturing process.

The inclusion of the employees in the process led to the introduction of the Quality Circle movement, where members informed management about the quality of production. That led to smaller batches of manufacturing, which meant that reduced times were needed for setups and changeovers. Eventually, manufacturing companies in North America began to adopt many of these lean manufacturing techniques, and the benefits of these concepts have led to many other industries – especially mining – implementing the core principles.

Why and How the Mining Industry Is Looking to Adopt Lean Techniques and Philosophies

One of the reasons for implementing lean in the mining industry is to eliminate activities that do not directly add value, allowing for faster extraction of ore and reduced operational costs. Examples of these types of activities include:
 

  • Waiting
  • Rework or repair
  • Over-processing
  • Transportation
  • Taking inventory

Lean techniques also empower employees even at the lowest level to solve problems and make operational decisions. This makes sense because those employees are in the best place to make suggestions about waste elimination, productivity improvement and other needed problem solving, in addition to being the ones who actually carry out techniques that make work more efficient. Managers in a lean mining operation should be fulfilling roles as mentors who provide the resources and tools necessary for continuous improvement.

Tool Tracking Can Help Lean Mining Companies Achieve Their Goals

An incredibly powerful technique that can eliminate operational waste in mining involves tool tracking. Consider the following ways tool tracking systems can help with this core lean principle:

1.Tool tracking allows for tracking an unlimited number of tools across multiple job sites. Employees can eliminate time wasted time by using tool tracking software to ensure equipment and tools are in the right place at the right time. This helps improve productivity as well.

  1. Tool tracking software can often eliminate the need for a dedicated tool crib attendant. With barcodes and/or RFID, it is easy to track who has checked out tools or received consumables using an automated kiosk.
  2. Tools are less frequently lost, stolen or hoarded, as a tool tracking system can help identify which employee last had the tool, increasing accountability and saving time.

Successful Lean Mining Operations

If lean mining is going to be successful, companies will need to thoroughly scrutinize their operations. Lean principles can be successfully applied, but there are specific challenges that must be overcome. It’s important that companies think about the process changes that are needed, but a change in company culture may also be required. It is not something that will happen overnight, and it does require total devotion from every employee.

However, when applied correctly, lean principles can have positive impacts. With the aid of tools such as equipment tracking software, mining operations can strive to run as efficiently as possible and stay afloat despite economic challenges.

4 Reasons Inventory Tracking Software is Better than Excel

February 21st, 2017   |   Posted by: superadmin

inventory tracking softwareThe familiarity of spreadsheets makes them an attractive option for inventory management. Most companies already use Excel spreadsheets to track something in their business, so using Excel to manage inventory often seems like a logical, solid idea. Unfortunately, Excel has limitations that can negatively affect inventory management, and it simply cannot compete with a dedicated inventory tracking system. Here are four reasons why inventory tracking software that uses barcodes and/or RFID is a better choice than Excel.

#1 – Excel Is Not Reliable

Data entry in Excel is the main source of inaccuracies, as any data is entered manually. A careless keystroke or mouse click can result in entering information in to the wrong cell, which can then lead to overwriting information that is already there. If formulas are used, a small mistake in that formula can not only be difficult to find, but it can affect multiple cells across the spreadsheet. A tremendous amount of time is wasted when an error must be located and corrected across many cells. Inventory tracking systems ensure data accuracy and prevent wasted time by vastly reducing the potential for human error.

#2 – Excel Is Not Real-Time

Excel does not provide real time inventory counts and data. Without that information, decisions may be made before updates to the spreadsheet are complete. This can lead to multiple issues, including not knowing the stock you have on hand and ordering too much or too little replenishment stock, even with a diligent staff monitoring stock and supplies. Inventory tracking software provides real-time data at every step of the supply chain, and it can do so across multiple locations.

#3 – Excel Cannot Support Multiple Concurrent User Access

Excel is designed so that only one person can enter data or make changes at a time. Once a spreadsheet is copied, it can be difficult to determine which copy is the most current. Excel also does not promote accountability either. There is no way to determine who made the last changes to the spreadsheet, which can make it difficult to know which employee to go to if there are questions. Stock shrink could also become a problem, as altering Excel records to conceal fraud and other dishonest activities can be easily accomplished. Inventory tracking software allows for multiple users at the same time at different locations. Every data change is easily tracked to a specific employee, thereby reducing shrink and fraud.

#4 – Excel Data Can Be Difficult to Analyze

There can be a mountain of data in a spreadsheet. As time goes on, it can become difficult to see what is actually relevant to the questions you have or the information you need. There is also a lack of confidence that the information you have in the spreadsheet is up-to-date and accurate. With inventory tracking software, inventory analysis and forecasting are easier, faster and you know you can rely on the data.

ToolHound’s Inventory Tracking Software

Inventory tracking software from ToolHound can do everything that spreadsheets can do and much, much more. As a best-in-class inventory tracking software, ToolHound optimizes construction operations and saves companies money, in the long run, better than Excel-based systems. ToolHound’s specialized inventory tracking software will mitigate the risk of error, support multiple users, update in real time, track users’ action and provide correct, complete data for business intelligence.

Top 5 Construction Industry Trends for 2017

January 24th, 2017   |   Posted by: superadmin

construction industry trendsAny conversation about construction industry trends in 2017 will have to consider the impact of the coming Trump administration in the United States. The uncertainty that plagued the construction industry last year while awaiting the election results could give way to cautious optimism. This is due to Donald Trump’s promises to cut regulations, his background in construction and development, and his massive infrastructure proposal.

On the other hand, some predict that material prices could rise due to possible trade conflicts with other countries, including China. In addition, stricter immigration policies could certainly affect the industry’s labor forces. Some simply feel that Trump’s unpredictability could cause trouble for an industry that’s desperately seeking some stability.

So while we wait to see how the coming administration will affect the industry as a whole, here are five specific construction industry trends we think will have a big impact in 2017:

1.) Lack of Qualified Workers: The dwindling labor pool is a continuing trend that started as far back as 2006. Between April 2006 and January 2011, almost 2.3 million jobs were eliminated from the construction industry workforce. A smaller pool of workers coming into the industry, coupled with an aging workforce, is creating a hardship for construction firms needing employees for managerial roles in the skilled trades.

2.) Offsite/Modular Construction: Prefab or modular construction isn’t new; however, experts believe this building method will grow in 2017. This alternative to traditional construction methods can save on scheduling time and material costs. In addition, if a module is built in a factory, it becomes much easier to maintain quality and reduce the impact of weather.

3.) Implementing More Technology: The rate at which technology is changing and advancing is unprecedented, and the construction industry can certainly benefit from this. Consider the drone or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. These are quickly becoming the safest and most effective way to complete a project survey, both pre- and post-construction. Drones can allow for easy 3D mapping of an area without endangering employees, and recent legislation has made it easier for construction companies to put drones in the air.

4.) A Growing Economy: The chief economist for Associated General Contractors, Ken Simonson, said that the economy will keep growing in 2017, and so will the construction industry, especially in office and apartment construction. He also believes there will be continued growth in power construction, including pipelines and renewables. The economist predicts that private non-residential and residential construction will also see growth this year.

5.) Internet of Things (IoT): As contractors look to cut costs and improve overall efficiency, many are looking to IoT technology – such as employee and equipment tracking – to improve worksite operations. In addition, wearable technology can ensure that workers are aware of hazards on the job site, and equipment sensors can alert staff when machinery maintenance and repaired is needed.

Overall, construction industry trends indicate that business is growing in some aspects and declining in others. This year, technology will play an important role in cost savings, operational efficiencies and worker safety, but a shortage of labor is sure to cause issues on various project worksites. While the effects of the Trump administration will not be known for some time, it is hoped the impact will be positive enough to keep construction on the rise in 2017.