A typical factory, warehouse, or shop floor can have thousands of assets and inventory items that must be recorded and maintained. Failure to effectively find and maintain equipment can result in unanticipated shutdowns, lost time, and considerably higher costs.
Most firms today utilize software to automate their tool inventory management, such as a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) or an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) platform.
What is a Tool Tracking Software?
A tool tracking software is a type of software specifically designed for managing the inventory of a tool crib, a centralized location where tools and equipment are stored and managed.
This software helps you keep track of your inventory levels, so you can quickly and easily determine what tools you need to purchase or restock.
The software can also generate reports, so you can see how your inventory is being used and make informed decisions about your purchasing and stocking practices.
Benefits of deploying a Tool Tracking Software
There are many benefits to using tool tracking software, including:
- Increased Efficiency: Quickly and easily see what tools and equipment you have on hand, saving you time and effort searching for items manually. This increased efficiency can also help you avoid delays caused by not having the right tools on hand.
- Better Inventory Control: By keeping track of your inventory levels, you can ensure that you never run out of the tools you need. This can also help you reduce waste by preventing overstocking, which can be a costly mistake.
- Improved Tracking: Track which tools are being used and when, which can help you identify patterns in usage. This information can help you make informed decisions about purchasing and stocking practices, reducing waste and increasing efficiency.
- Increased Accountability: Keep track of who is using your tools and equipment. This can help you identify areas where you may need to improve training or increase oversight, ensuring that your tools are being used properly and efficiently.
Key Features: Look for Automation and Security
When selecting a tool tracking software, look for the following key features to be included:
- Real-time inventory tracking: The software provides real-time updates on the availability of tools and equipment in the tool crib, allowing users to make informed decisions about which items to check out and when.
- Customizable reporting: The software allows users to generate reports on various aspects of tool crib operations, including checkouts, check-ins, and inventory levels. These reports can be customized to meet the specific needs of the user.
- Barcode scanning: The software supports barcode scanning, making it easier for users to quickly and accurately check out and check in tools and equipment.
- Mobile compatibility: The software can be accessed from any device with an internet connection, including smartphones and tablets. This allows users to manage the tool crib from anywhere, at any time.
- User permissions: The software allows administrators to set different levels of access for different users, ensuring that only authorized personnel can check out certain tools and equipment.
- Asset management: The software includes features for managing the lifecycle of tools and equipment, including tracking maintenance schedules and keeping a record of repair and replacement history.
- Integration with other systems: The software can be integrated with other systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and computerized maintenance management (CMMS), to provide a comprehensive view of the organization’s operations.
Tool Inventory Management with Barcodes vs RFID
Tool identification is the first step in deploying a tool crib software, with most solutions available in the market supporting both barcode labels and RFID tags.
What to look out for when selecting barcode labels?
- Go for the extra durable, i.e. polypropylene or anodized aluminum labels, with strong adhesives.
- Prioritize customization, be it the company name and/or serial numbers.
When to use RFID tagging?
RFID tool identification uses small battery-less UHF RFID tags that can be used alongside barcodes, with the following advantages:
- Adapted to large equipment as well as very small tools, with more and more ‘RFID connected tools‘ made available by manufacturers.
- Item-level tracking with unique identifiers
- Enables active detection, i.e. at a distance, without line-of-sight.
- Automated inventory, in bulk, with limited to no human interventions.
Alternative wireless technologies are available, such as BLE beacons or GPS trackers. Their price points and external power source make them best suited to niche applications.
4- CribMaster Storeroom & Tool Crib Management
Best for aerospace: The Stanley Black & Decker group’s brand enjoys high levels of recognition in the aerospace industry.
5- Hilti Tool Fleet Management
Best for tool fleet management.
Xerafy is a pioneer in RFID for Tool Control, bringing to market several innovations that enable advanced identification and automation capabilities.
In addition to a complete range of field-proven RFID tags available off-the-shelf, Xerafy offers Custom RFID Tags services, covering everything from a personalization service bureau to custom-design engineering capabilities.