The usage of tooling is often an overlooked resource when planning the maintenance, service or specific projects at customer sites.
Human resource allocation and spare parts reservation are an integral part of your operational planners’ workload, but tooling is often left to the technicians and engineers to ‘sort out’. Most technicians can’t do their jobs without some form of tooling, whether a wrench, a pump, or larger items such as a crane, scaffolding or elevator. But without effective tooling management, companies risk not only losing tools along the way but increased costs through non value-added time – the time that’s wasted when your technicians or engineers are on site without the right tools or when they are spending time looking for tools when they should be on a job. This also leads to customer dissatisfaction.
A lot of tasks require the use of a tool and in some industries, it’s even mandatory for most of the jobs. At the start of a maintenance or service order, the technician may arrive on site either without the correct tools or they may only begin the process of looking for the tools they need. If they haven’t pre-planned to use a particular tool then it may not be readily available or it may already being used for another job.
All too often there is no visibility of where tools are situated and who has been using them. Technicians may go home after a job with tools in their van that are not returned to the depot and it is not until the following day that the search begins for another tool or a one that is locked in somebody’s van. The technicians either don’t have the time or are not paid to manage the tools as a resource.
Non value-added time that is wasted on searching for tools or arriving on site without the correct tools can be costly, and often the organisation does not realise how much time is actually lost. While the tools form part of an inventory of assets, from a logistics point of view the organisation doesn’t always have clear visibility on the costs of tool usage.
How does APB help?
While SAP has good capability for the management of spare parts using real-time data and for the human resource element of maintenance and servicing, the tooling part is rather clunky and not really fit for purpose. The alternatives are poor; such as managing tooling within a spreadsheet or in a notebook that’s kept in the workshop.
APB is a valuable solution because it supports the complete resourcing planning and tooling and is fully integrated with SAP. In APB every individual tool is managed with a master record held within SAP. It lets you detail each tool down to its size, power and technical details. Using this data, the APB graphical view allows your people to share and use this information to check availability and plan how and where each tool is going to be used. You can assign tools to a job and input how long it will be needed for, together with accompanying details such as whether a driver is required for a crane.
As well as being able to optimise your resources management, a major benefit of using APB is that you can assign costs of each individual tool to every single order the tool has been used on. It gives you an accurate number of hours that a tool has been in operation and this allows you to maintain visibility of costs and to apportion appropriate charges to your customers.
This will obviously have a direct impact on your bottom line because it clearly shows the true cost of your internal or customer’s maintenance. The APB really does fill the black hole for managing and accounting for tools as part of a maintenance programme of work.
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