Tool Tracking & Inventory Management Myth Busters Event

Two years ago the Focus on Completion Until Successful (FOCUS) Tool and Equipment Lean initiative began. The FOCUS team was tasked with identifying and eliminating waste and rework in the Tool and Equipment Department.

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Jamar’s Lean Leadership worked with the FOCUS team to measure and gather data about how the Tool Room was performing and to listen to internal customers (Jamar staff) about their needs. The result was a three-phase plan to reorganize the physical tool room space, the processes by which they worked, and concentrate on customer service. As part of an overall improvement to eliminate waste and rework, a software system was chosen and implemented.

The recent Myth Busters event, held in conjunction with the Safety meeting on July 16, 2015, was the culmination of the 12-month pilot to demonstrate and measure the benefits of the inventory management system. The event was named “Myth Busters” because both Jamar’s Lean Leadership and the FOCUS team heard a lot about how “this software system wouldn’t or couldn’t work” for our type of business. In fact, the pilot was haunted by a failed attempt to bar code and account for tools years ago.

The pilot was successful because the team implemented new software and took the time to create, test, and document the key processes within the department into standard operating procedures (SOP’s).

“There are over 3,000 different SKU’s in the database and counting. For the first time in the history of The Jamar Company there is real-time tracking of tools and equipment – both in the tool room and the field. Along with knowing the quantities of tools on hand and in the field, we now have the capability of knowing the location of specialty tools whether they’re in a van, truck, in a gang box going to a job, or in its designated location within the tool room.” Roger Daoust, Tool & Equipment Manager

“Prior to the implementation of the computer inventory system, locating something like a core drill could be a tall task. We would have to search around the tool room, ask each other, contact Project Managers, Foreman, Superintendents who we thought may have one… a process that could take hours. Now we simply search for the core drill in our system and we know exactly where items are – saving the time and effort of everybody involved.” Pat Freeman, Tool Room Supervisor

The system assists with maintenance and safety by linking repair and calibration records directly to the tool within the database. It helps us mitigate fines and penalties by ensuring we comply with OSHA, MSHA, and any other safety regulatory standards. We’ve also improved in waste reduction, which directly affects our bottom line, by getting a better focus on budgeting, cost analysis, and ensuring tools are returned.

We’re excited about the progress we’ve made to date. We look forward to greater effectiveness in our continuous improvement campaign and goal of no tool left behind!

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