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What’s Ahead for the Construction Industry in 2016?

January 21st, 2016   |   Posted by: superadmin

The good news for the construction industry in 2016 is that it’s expected to continue growing overall, with the residential building sector leading the way followed closely by commercial. Some industry analysts predict that U.S. construction starts will increase 6 percent to $712 billion in 2016, following estimated gains of 13 percent in 2015.

But analyst predictions don’t do any good if your business isn’t seeing the profits you expect. Fortunately, 2016 also will bring some key industry trends to help you grow your business and improve return on investment (ROI).

Strategy to Stay in the Black

In today’s global economy, developments around the world increasingly affect businesses everywhere. Beyond keeping an eye on the local economy, it’s important to be aware of other factors helping to shape the future construction outlook, such as lower oil prices worldwide and foreign currency shifts. To improve their company’s ability to ride out these global ups and downs, many large construction firms are adopting new strategies and tools to track spending to make sure they’re able to stay in the black, regardless of the economic climate.

Green Building

Speaking of the climate, the developments at the United Nations’ Conference on Climate Change late last year gave a boost to the topic of sustainability and green building. In fact, during the Greenbuild 2015 conference, the U.S. Green Buildings Council (USGBC) reported that the green building market is expected to exceed $3 billion by 2020. As USGBC CEO Rick Fedrizzi said, “Profitability is sustainable and sustainability is profitable.”

Technology Advancements

More and more companies are embracing technology tools to improve productivity and increase ROI. Robots are being used more than ever, big data aggregation applications are helping to save time and drones are flying above many job sites.

The importance of new technology advancements was emphasized at the recent Engineering News-Record FutureTech conference where the CTO for engineering consultant Black & Veatch said that today’s businesses need to be open to new technology including Building Information Modeling, mobile devices and data analysis tools. Staying ahead of the competition means learning how to adapt and putting advanced technology to work.

Additionally, the willingness to embrace new technology can help companies overcome the most commonly mentioned trend for the construction industry in 2016, which is the shortage of skilled labor. Although most experts predict this shortage will continue well into 2016, technology tools like ToolHound 5 help you maximize the productivity of your existing workforce by automating and streamlining equipment check-in/check-out for peak efficiency.

What trends do you think will be most important this year?

Meet Your New Purchasing Manager

December 10th, 2015   |   Posted by: superadmin

11986358_1208751095817143_2353541743546368088_nYou have a lot of demands on your time. Between bidding projects, managing personnel, planning business strategy and keeping an eye on the balance sheet, you have more than enough to do.

Finding extra time in the day for purchasing materials is nearly impossible. Yet, efficient management of consumable inventory and tool replacement is key to avoiding stalled productivity.

Fortunately, the ToolHound tool and equipment tracking system offers access to the ToolHound Purchasing Module. The purchasing module allows you to automate the task of adding new items to inventory, simplifying the process of ordering, receiving and tracking inventory.

With automated reordering, you can replenish inventory using user-defined minimum and maximum quantities, automatically generating and sending purchase orders to selected suppliers.

The purchasing module not only monitors item availability and usage to create purchase orders, it also reports on usage history to help you make informed decisions about future inventory purchasing and forecasting.

The reporting feature makes it easy to view backorder reports or completed purchase orders at any time, and you can generate inventory receiving reports by supplier and/or purchase order number.

When your time is already at a premium, why spend hours creating purchase orders and tracking down backorders when you have an efficient, effective purchasing manager at your disposal with the ToolHound purchasing module?

RFID Lightens the Load of Managing Heavy Equipment

November 16th, 2015   |   Posted by: superadmin

The National Insurance Crime Bureau has estimated that the construction industry loses $1 billion annually from equipment and tool theft, with a large majority of thefts occurring on the job site. Two main factors determine the type of equipment stolen most often – value and mobility.

Of course, some of the most valuable equipment is too big to steal; yet even some large, heavy equipment goes missing every day. This type of pervasive problem demonstrates just one of the many reasons why it’s necessary to manage and track your valuable equipment inventory.

This is particularly important when you have crews working in multiple locations. Keeping track of equipment in the field is challenging enough, but it becomes even more complicated when a project uses equipment from one yard and returns it to another yard, or transfers it to another project.

Finding the Best Fit for Managing Heavy Equipment

When choosing a tool management solution, both RFID and barcode tracking offer benefits for hand tools. However, a robust solution is needed for most heavy equipment that stays outdoors on the job site, including cranes, excavators, bulldozers, fork lifts or backhoes.

RFID tags are durable enough to withstand weather and harsh conditions, and tags can be read without line of sight. This means the tag can be mounted inside or outside the equipment, and it can still be read even when covered in dirt and grime.

The ToolHound equipment management system makes it simple to transfer heavy equipment from a central warehouse to one or more jobs sites, keeping track of all the items at each location with RFID tracking. Once the equipment is delivered to the job site, items can be checked out to workers as required. When the project is completed, items are easily transferred back to the warehouse or directly to another job.

This increased visibility also enables identification of assets that can be sold or removed from inventory to free up budget for new, up-to-date tools and equipment. For added benefit, ToolHound offers a simple-to-use rental module that allows you to track tool use and streamline project billing, saving time and maximizing return on your equipment investment.

But don’t take our word for it — read more about how smart business owners are using ToolHound to track more than just tools.

Avoid Stalled Productivity with Automation for Tool and Equipment Management

October 20th, 2015   |   Posted by: superadmin

It’s a familiar sight. Workers standing around, waiting to be issued tools and equipment at the beginning of the workday. Or is it actually the end of the day; are they standing around waiting to return their tools…?

Either way it looks the same – costly and inefficient. Calculate the time and money wasted for each worker, times twice a day and the total number of workers, and it quickly adds up.

Toolhound 5 Prevents Stalled Productivity

avoid stalled productivity
With the ToolHound 5 system, you can eliminate time-consuming manual tool tracking to avoid stalled productivity, while still keeping workers accountable for valuable equipment. For example, with the ToolHound SecureCrib™ software, workers can quickly get and return the tools they need from a fully automated tool kiosk without a tool crib attendant.

SecureCrib™ uses a simple touch screen computer or an RFID portal to allow a worker to scan an ID badge to start the process, and then choose to either check out or return inventory. Using an RFID reader, the worker simply scans the items, confirms that the list on the computer screen matches their inventory, and then proceeds to their jobsite or returns their tools to the crib.

Whether you prefer to use a fully automated kiosk or a manned tool crib, ToolHound has a complete solution that includes both barcode and RFID technology, mobile computers and software.

ToolHound not only helps you make sure that the right tool is in the right place at the right time, but also allows you to automate and streamline the issue and return of equipment for even greater productivity. After all, why pay workers to stand around when they could already be on the jobsite?

Tips for Tracking Tools Across Multiple Job Sites

October 6th, 2015   |   Posted by: superadmin

Keeping track of tools and equipment can be difficult enough with a small operation. Things are lost or misplaced on a daily basis; that’s simply a fact of life on a job site.

But when you are operating a large operation across multiple job sites, the characteristic challenges of equipment management are multiplied ten-fold. And if you are unable to get a handle on the problem, it can become overwhelming… as well as very costly in terms of time, money and reputation.

Tracking Tools Across Multiple Job Sites:

  • Tip #1: Save time while keeping workers accountable for lost items and tool hoarding by scanning items in the field and uploading data wirelessly. With a web browser-based tool management software like ToolHound Cloud, your entire equipment inventory can be managed remotely at any time and from anywhere via a single software platform and an Internet connection.

  • Tip #2: Recapture tool costs by billing for usage per each job site or client. ToolHound makes it easy to maintain a complete history of tool usage by item and employee, automatically recording charges and expenses for each inventory item.

  • Tip #3: Simplify the task of adding new items to inventory as you expand sites with the ToolHound Purchasing Module. This system not only monitors item availability and usage to create purchase orders, it also reports on usage history to help you make informed decisions about inventory purchasing strategies.

With ToolHound, you can gain complete visibility of valuable company assets — tools, equipment, machinery, consumables and vehicles — wherever they are located, across multiple long-term projects and unlimited job sites.

And when workers spend less time searching for lost or misplaced equipment, productivity goes up, costs go down, and your projects stay on schedule.