Managing Equipment Requests From Your Job Sites
If you are like most construction companies, your job sites likely send you tool and equipment requisitions outside of your corporate ERP framework. Either you get a phone call or email that asks you to send some piece of equipment or tool to one of your job sites. Then you need to make sure you get all the details associated with the request – the exact type of equipment needed, any add-ons, dates, times, etc. – which likely requires a follow-up call. Finally, as the warehouse manager, you need to process the request, pick and ship the equipment or tools, track inventory movement and allocate costs to the job site.
Sounds easy right? Not so much.
Most corporate broad spectrum ERP systems are not set up to effectively managing equipment and tools for a number of reasons. Which means construction companies are turning to add-on software for real-time equipment tracking and warehouse management.
A quality tool tracking software system should provide real-time tracking of equipment, the ability to schedule future requests, and an integration back to the corporate accounting ERP. The last two items – scheduling requisitions and integration are two areas that differentiate one solution from another.
Scheduling future requests is a key to improving your yard management. It is not enough to simply track where equipment is, a good tool tracking software will manage your future workload. You will be able to see now what equipment is needed in the future so you can schedule your yard and maintenance crews. Your maintenance teams can address any service needs or perform any needed preventative maintenance on equipment that will be needed. And you can schedule your picking and delivery efforts to maximize your team’s efficiency among several job site requests.
If there are special requirements associated with the equipment request, you will have time to orchestrate that as well. That might mean including an add-on piece of equipment or a consumable item needed to do the job. Alternatively, you might need a specialty or certified operator to run the equipment. The right tracking software should associate any special requirements to the individual equipment type to make sure you are not caught off guard at the job site.
The ability to see what is coming in terms of requests also helps you better manage your inventory. If you get more requests for equipment than you have in the yard, you have time to either transfer equipment from another location, purchase new equipment or schedule an external re-rent. Knowing exactly where all your equipment is in real-time will reduce the frustration of wondering if you have a piece of equipment in the yard or if it ended up at a job site.
Integration with your corporate ERP is the other area that is important for your tool tracking software. It is ineffective to run two or more different software packages that do not link together. If accurate real-time data about your equipment is important to your business, you should feed that information into your central ERP for everyone to access. If your systems are not integrated you will have to enter data into two systems which is not efficient and is prone to errors.