Advanced Technology Solutions Improve Your Tool Control
EP Editorial Staff | September 18, 2013
Tools are lost, misplaced or just go missing. Many of the challenges facing today’s production facilities and remote job sites involve processes associated with monitoring, managing and maintaining tools and other necessary supplies. Whether work orders are scheduled or an emergency repair is required, maintenance professionals need the right product at the right time—regardless of the shift or time of day. Not having supplies readily available 24/7 creates barriers to production and a host of other challenges, including:
- Wasted time to get supplies
- Production downtime
- Hoarding and theft
- Inefficient replenishment processes
- Safety risks in high-accountability environments
It starts with software
The CribMaster Inventory Management system utilizes secure storage devices like drawer systems, cabinets, carousel and coil machines, portal systems and lockers powered by CribMaster software to accurately dispense product in one location at the point of use. These systems help streamline and improve a facility’s inventory, time management, personnel tracking and other key processes. According to the company, implementation of the system has proven to reduce inventory spending by 20-30% in the first year.
The inventory-control software and storage devices coupled with other leading-edge technologies such as RFID and precise weight-sensing technology allow a non-intrusive, simplified solution for the maintenance professional to get the required inventory and go to work without ever having to track down a supervisor or wait on replenishment. It’s called passive issue: The authorized user simply scans his/her badge, accesses the storage device and gets the required inventory while the system automatically gathers critical information to manage the inventory.
The software provides numerous features enabling automated inventory distribution and real-time supply monitoring. Optimum inventory levels can be set so that the system sends an email notification to replenish an item before it gets critically low. This is especially beneficial for monitoring high-demand items and identifying idle items. In addition to the automated replenishment feature, the company notes that CribMaster systems aid in other aspects of indirect material management, including:
- Repairs and servicing through a preventive maintenance tracker
- Budget monitoring with cost-accounting tools
- Monitoring of calibration schedules
- Increased user accountability
Complete tool control
The system meets the demand for strict compliance of FOD (Foreign Object Debris) and FME (Foreign Material Exclusion) regulations in industries such as aircraft maintenance and nuclear-power gen by providing total visibility of these assets and helping maintain positive tool control. The system automatically monitors and records when RFID-enabled tools and equipment are taken from any secure storage device. As tools are carried throughout a facility, Last Point Read (LPR™) monitors can track them, creating a historical record of tool movement that can quickly narrow the search for missing items. RFID handheld scanners can be used to quickly zone in on the items’ locations, shortening retrieval time.
With CribMaster’s line of PROTOid™, industrial-grade hand tools featuring RFID integrated in their ergonomic designs, even small tools like sockets are easy to track, allowing for greater control of assets with increased accountability.