How to reduce the time taken to manage your toolpark

How to manage your toolpark

Managing your toolpark can be an extremely time-consuming process. For businesses with a large selection of equipment, warehouses and systems can be vast and complicated. Even if your toolpark is relatively small, the regular movement of equipment between workers and sites can make inventory management a time-consuming and laborious task.

The implications of this lost time are numerous, and can lead to reduced productivity and increased costs, which can make a huge difference in terms of a company’s profitability.

Fortunately, there are a number of measures you can take to help reduce this time:

Undertake an audit of your toolpark

All companies perform audits on at least an annual basis, while many choose to undertake some sort of audit biannually, quarterly, monthly or even weekly. While the frequency of audits depends on your own needs and requirements, it's important to ensure you perform some sort of audit on a regular basis.

This can be split into differing scales, with internal audits occurring regularly in order to provide appropriate detail for external auditors to examine.

An internal audit can consist of several small inventory checks across your different locations, including workers’ vans where tools are often stored during jobs. Performing these internal audits regularly helps you to both know where your tools are, and ensure they are in good working order.

While audits can help save time on-site, they are of course time-consuming in themselves - particularly if you use a manual system. A digital asset management system can vastly reduce time spent on an audit, by automating long processes while also reducing human error.


Remove excess and broken equipment

Performing regular audits can help you identify excess and broken equipment that can be removed from your toolpark to help increase efficiency. By cleansing your equipment stock on a regular basis, you can help improve productivity (and therefore save time) across your site.  

This will ensure workers are always equipped with fully functional tools that are suitable for the task, while those in charge of organising and maintaining the toolpark will have a constant, up-to-date record of what equipment is available and its status, without having to manually check every time.

Removing excess equipment can reduce admin time, and help ensure tool inventories are run as efficiently as possible.


Calculate the costs associated with downtime

We all understand that downtime costs money - any time where a worker is not able to perform their job is a loss of potential earnings - but do you know how much, in real terms, downtime is costing your business?

Calculating the cost of downtime can be quite revealing. While cost is relatively quantifiable in terms of lost productivity, when you factor in the various processes and people involved - such as admin time and the travel associated with tool repair - the costs can spiral.

According to Construction Equipment magazine, once these associated resources are included, the costs of downtime can run up to hundreds of pounds per hour. Downtime on site can vary from around 5-10 minutes to 2-3 hours, with these longer bouts potentially resulting in serious financial implications.

The amount of time taken across the business is often difficult to calculate - and a productivity analysis can help you identify this time and therefore the wider cost of downtime.


Train employees

Training can make a significant impact on time factors across your business. In terms of your toolpark, ensuring workers are trained to an appropriate standard for their job can help save time on site. Workers who have a better technical knowledge of their equipment may be able to perform minor repairs and services on tools without having to send them out for repair. This can save considerable time - both in terms of maintenance and downtime.

More importantly, however, if your workers are trained in preventative measures and understand how to use the equipment correctly, the lifecycle of tools can be prolonged, reducing services and increasing site productivity.


Stick to a preventative maintenance schedule

Preventative maintenance is regular, routine maintenance to help keep equipment running smoothly while reducing unplanned downtime through unanticipated equipment failure. It works by identifying problems before they happen and requires accurate record keeping of past inspections alongside service reports.

While this process requires careful planning and scheduling, it can be a highly beneficial time-saving measure in your toolpark, allowing maintenance to take place during scheduled low-value time instead of high-value time on site. Preventative maintenance also has various other benefits, including:

  • Prolonging the life of equipment

  • Fewer errors in day-to-day operations

  • Improved equipment reliability and performance

  • Reduced risk of injury

Utilise asset management software

Finally, an effective way to implement all of these various time saving measures is to utilise some form of asset management software.

Asset management software helps you to control your tool inventory, record and track maintenance schedules and know where your tools are at any given time. This type of digital system can save considerable administrative time by automating and simplifying various time-consuming processes in your toolpark.

It saves tools having to be manually counted and updated on a spreadsheet, while being able to locate tools digitally means you don’t have to call different sites to find out who has an item of equipment.

In the construction industry, time is money, and toolparks are extremely adept at eating up valuable time. By investing in these various methods, you can save considerable time - and therefore money - throughout your toolpark.