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The Paperless Jobsite

March 31st, 2016   |   Posted by: superadmin

construction worker at paperless jobsiteFor many years, paper was ubiquitous in the construction industry. From invoices to drawings, paper was everywhere – but this is all beginning to change. With the role of technology in construction continuing to grow, the modern jobsite has been forced to adapt and improve. One of the biggest improvements that many companies have adopted is going paperless.

Since technology is already being integrated into your day-to-day operations, it only makes sense to take the next step and eliminate paper. While this may seem like a no-brainer for enterprise-level construction companies, medium and smaller sized companies can also benefit from going paperless.

The Environmental Costs

Each year, more than 300 million tons of paper are consumed worldwide. Canada is the one of the world’s largest consumers of paper (second to only the US). Although first world countries make up a small percentage of the world’s population, they consume a disproportionate amount of paper compared to other countries. This results in deforestation, an increase in solid waste, and significant contributions to air and water pollution. Moving towards a paperless jobsite reduces your negative impact on the environment.

Sustainability is Good Business

Maybe you haven’t taken the time to think about your environmental footprint, and that’s okay. Many businesses are so focused on their bottom line, that they don’t consider how sustainability practices can have an overall positive financial impact. You may be surprised to learn that adopting sustainable practices is also good business. These practices help you to be more competitive and more attractive to consumers.

Increased Productivity and Lower Costs

If you’ve ever forgotten an important document or building plan and had to waste time driving back to the office, you understand the value of having access to documents in the cloud. Not only does a paperless jobsite eliminate the need to carry paper copies, but going paperless also helps cut down on administrative costs.

Handling paper can account for 30 percent of your organization’s overhead. This number takes into account the average number of hours workers spend on tasks such as filing, distributing, creating, retrieving, and destroying documents. A 2014 AIIM report showed that more than half of respondents see a return on their investment within a year of implementing paper-free projects.

How Can ToolHound Help?

ToolHound offers equipment and tool management software that is an integral part of any effort to reduce paper on the job site. Here are a few Toolhound Solutions that can help your company go paperless:

  • ToolHound Purchasing Module – If you are still using a paper-based system for tool inventory tracking and purchase ordering, then ToolHound’s Purchasing Module is an excellent solution for you. It allows you to monitor item availability and usage to generate purchase orders.
  • ToolHound 5 – ToolHound 5 offers paperless tool tracking and consumable tracking.
  • Maintenance Module – The ToolHound Maintenance Module eliminates the need for paper work orders and service tasks.

If you have been considering reducing your paper consumption or going to a completely paperless jobsite, now is a good time to investigate tools that are specifically designed for the construction industry, such as Toolhound’s construction inventory management system.

Technology and the High-Tech Job Site

February 29th, 2016   |   Posted by: superadmin

In today’s always connected world, technology offers a wide range of gadgets and services that make our daily lives more comfortable and convenient, not to mention more entertaining as well. On today’s job site, however, technology plays a much more valuable role — enabling greater efficiency and safety.

Technology has delivered a number of important advances that are revolutionizing the modern, high-tech job site.

RFID Tool Tracking:

The use of a tool and equipment tracking system, like ToolHound 5, increases both efficiency and productivity by managing valuable inventory across job sites. With RFID technology replacing bar code labels for many applications, reliable construction inventory management can be done in real-time, even when tools are used in harsh, dirty or greasy environments.

But this tool management software not only simplifies tool tracking, it also contributes to improved safety. Because improper tool maintenance can lead to on-the-job mistakes and accidents, the ToolHound Maintenance Module keeps track of regular maintenance tasks with full reporting on when service is due, outstanding repairs, meter readings and maintenance histories.

Working in the Cloud:

With workers and resources spread across multiple job sites, many construction firms have come to rely on cloud computing as a more practical and efficient way to collaborate. Storing information in the cloud provides secure, anytime access to applications and data from virtually any Internet-connected device, regardless of how much data storage that device offers. For example, ToolHound Cloud uses an online, hosted version of ToolHound to manage the movement, usage and location of tools and equipment without the hassle of maintaining web and database servers.

Going Mobile:

Availability of cloud computing and Wi-Fi Internet access, plus the growing number of workers with tablets and smart phones on the job, means ever-increasing mobility. To allow you to take full advantage of that mobility, there are a number of mobile apps for the construction industry, including CAD apps to change blueprints on the fly, and apps that help managers calculate supplies, concrete volumes, roofing materials and more.

Virtual High-Tech Job Site:

While drones, GoPro video cameras and 360-degree fisheye cameras are popular with hobbyists, they also come in handy for improved construction information workflow. Video and panorama photography are great tools to simplify visual documentation and bring the virtual job site to management, saving time and travel costs.

We’ve all become accustomed to the conveniences made possible by technology in our day-to-day lives. But when it comes to the hardware and software solutions available in today’s construction industry, a high-tech job site delivers unprecedented and even unexpected advantages.

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 the ToolHound 5 inventory management system 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

purchasing managerYou 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 can be close to impossible. Yet, efficient management of consumable inventory and tool replacement is key to avoiding stalled productivity.

Fortunately, the ToolHound tool and equipment tracking system includes access to the ToolHound Purchasing Module. The purchasing module allows you to automate the task of adding new items to your tool 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? Contact us to learn more about how ToolHound’s inventory tracking software and hardware can save you time and money in purchasing and beyond.

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 have an accurate asset tracking system for managing heavy equipment.

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 control 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 inventory 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. This equipment rental software saves you time and maximizes the 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.