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24 MARCH 2016 COATINGSPROMAG.COM or soil drainage issues, to plan for? What power requirements or other utilities are needed? Have all the proper permits and other regulatory approvals been obtained? T he result of taking the time for pre-work planning can be dramatic. T hese can include minimized disruption, enhanced work f low, increased efficiencies, lower costs, and improved worker safety and morale. T he planning process looks at the risk in operational and logis- tic plans, procedures, and processes and either eliminates or mitigates them. Preplanning looks at the when, how, where, and what of the job and manages controllable variables. Tool and Equipment Management So if there are so many benefts to using a tool management software, why do so many owners and managers hesitate to make this investment? Te reasons may range from "my people won't use it," to " it will take too much time to imple- ment" or " it's just easier to write of the losses." But none of these excuses take into account the cumulative cost of replacing the lost or stolen tools, the lost productivity, and the ripple efect when the proper tools are not on the job. Consider a software solution. Tere are several criteria to consider when selecting one: • What kind of support is offered? Ask to talk to a current customer to determine how responsive the company is to trouble calls. Better yet, call the company and ask for the support desk. (Do you get a live person?) There's nothing worse than waiting hours or even days for the answer to a simple question. If the support is poor, it doesn't matter how robust the software is. • Does it have the features you need? Determine what is key for your business. Is it tracking consumables as well as tools? Do you want to track the maintenance on your major equipment? Or is ease of use your primary goal? • Are there built-in checks and balances that assure the information is accurate? For example, is the data entry manual, or does it use bar code or radio frequency identification (RFID) for automated tracking? • How does the company handle train- ing? Is there an actual plan to help your people learn the best practices of how to use the software? • Can the company provide custom modifications if you need them? • How much money do you want to invest in the tool? T he invest- ment required to implement tool management software can range from a couple thousand dollars to 20 thousand dollars or more, depending on the size of your company, the number of users, and the technolog y involved. T here are systems that use a SA AS (software as a ser vice) model where you pay a monthly fee to use the software rather than purchasing it outright, which might be a better option for your crew. Regardless of what your specific needs are, a properly implemented system may save your company time and money. To help you decide to do something rather than nothing, ca lculate the retur n on investment you w ill rea lize from the change. T here are pre-designed spreadsheets you can use, or develop one of your ow n. Add up the cost ( by the hour or by the item) of: • Jobsite delays due to poor planning or missing and/or non-working equipment and tools; • Errors and rework due to lack of training and/or turnover; • Labor to track down missing tools and equipment; • Labor to purchase tools that are not on the jobsite when required; • Cost of duplicate tools and equip- ment due to onsite purchases; • Cost of employee injuries (include any increases in insurance costs); • Cost of errors from incorrect data entry. Tese are just a few of the incre- mental costs you can use to calculate the overall price of poor equipment and tool management and poor planning. The Bottom Line Everything discussed here may improve the net proft for your company. W hen implemented properly, the planning process is a continuous improvement process. Once steps have been taken and the results evaluated, you will have the information to make even better decisions in the future. By investing now in the time and software tools to better organize your business, you may incrementally improve your bottom line over time. After all, doing nothing can cost you time and money! CP Alison Falco is t he founder and CEO of D y namic Systems Inc. She began her career at Inter mec where she integ rated some of t he f irst bar code t rac k ing solut ions in t he indus- t r y. Since found ing D y namic Systems, she has bu i lt it into one of t he lead ing developers of bar code-based t rac k ing sof t ware. Fa lco is a Phi Beta K appa g raduate of St. L aw rence Universit y. For more infor mat ion, contact: D y namic Systems, w w w.dy namic-systemsinc.com The result of taking the time for pre-work planning can be dramatic. These can include minimized disruption, enhanced work fow, increased efciencies, lower costs, and improved worker safety and morale. Money Matters