Tool and Equipment Management System for Enhanced Visibility

Take Control of your Assets

Can you answer the following question regarding the tools in you organization?

  1. Can your account for all tools and equipment issued?
  2. Do you know who is misusing the tools?
  3. Do you know how often do you have to replace missing tools?
  4. Do you know when your tools should be calibrated or go for maintenance?
  5. Are you compliant in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) in this regard?

You may be able to answer these questions positively, but can you say for certain that you have a record these tools? Storeroom managers and safety officers are often concerned with these issues and other relevant issues when it comes to managing tools and equipment.

It is not surprising that these issues are of concern as failing to manage tools and equipment have various consequences. In terms of tool and equipment losses due to theft, a recent survey found that this issue costs industries in the United States of America a whopping $600 million per year (National Equipment Register Survey, 2007 in ToolWatch Corporation Industry Statistic Sheet, retrieved 2014).

Recently Implemented at Eskom

Eskom approached us at Traceability Solutions in 2010 to help them improve their current tools management. Taking into consideration all these potential consequences of failing to effectively manage tools, Eskom wanted to move away from their paper-based system to a more sophisticated and reliable system.

In a recent white paper published on our website referring to the tool management installation at Eskom, 2010 we addressed the problems experienced when managing tools as well as highlighted the latest technology and processes available when implement a tool and equipment management system.

We identified that, like many other companies, a paper-based system is ineffective. This approach renders the organization vulnerable to the actions and competences of its employees. So, an alternative tool management system was proposed and introduced at Eskom’s training centers.

The tool management system that uses a 2D code scanner and individual biometrics to issue and return items at Eskom’s training centre was delivered to manage tools and equipment issued to students. The organisation requested that the implemented system also keep track of the movement of tools across different locations.

The results were remarkable. One of the most beneficial features of the system implemented, are the fact that it requires minimal human intervention to record information as well as the fact that responsibility for items is established through scanning fingerprints of the issuer and receiver. Human error in recording, describing, receiving and/or issuing the tools/pieces of equipment is minimised.

Knowing who has what tools, and having the peace of mind of knowing that record is kept of service and calibration dates is so vital. At the end of the day, if a system can deliver on these objectives, the system is deemed to be effective. There is no better system to establish accountability and responsibility than one that uses fingerprints and permanently marked 2D codes to do so. Using a standardised method of capturing and storing information supports storeroom managers, and help them keep track of services and calibration requirements of tools, which offers these managers peace of mind as a result.