How to Keep Track of Tools: Our Handy Guide for 2023

Tool tracking
Dan Barraclough author headshot photo
Maïté Bouhali

Did you know? According to asset management company HILTI, businesses waste on average 90 hours a month looking for tools.

We did some math:

If you own a company of 20 employees, each on $30 an hour, that’s $135 per employee per month down the drain. With rising inflation and hiking costs, the last thing you want is to be losing that much money every month.

There’s a simple solution to this industry nightmare: asset tracking. And luckily for you, it’s super-easy to invest in. If you're already convinced, you can use our quick quote finder to get bespoke prices for you. Or, read on to find out more about exactly how it can help your business.


What is Asset Tracking?

Asset tracking isn’t just about knowing where your tools are at any given time – it’s knowing the ins and outs of the finer details, too. Certifications, part replacements and servicing data are all collected onto one central system, which you can access anytime, anywhere via a mobile phone app.

On a much, much larger scale, asset tracking will help you keep track of your mega valuable assets, too. In fact, the image below represents just some of the industries that are benefiting from asset tracking.

Asset tracking industries
Industries that benefit from asset tracking

How Does Asset Tracking Help You Keep Track of Tools?

Here are just some of the ways asset tracking can help you keep track of valuable company equipment and machinery.

Keeping Track of Handheld Tools: Use QR Code Scanning or Bluetooth

By combining clever software with a QR code, you have yourself an asset tracking system in its most basic form. Simply pop a barcode sticker on all of your handheld tools, then use your phone to scan the tools in and out. That way, you know who’s using the tool and which site it’s located at – easy.

Unsure if a QR code is the most viable option for you? For a more robust option, why not look into Bluetooth or RFID tracking tags?

Keeping Track of Mid-sized Tools: Use QR Scanning or Bluetooth

Blend the powers of QR codes and Bluetooth when keeping track of your mid-sized tools. Asset tracking suppliers will provide appropriately sized barcode stickers and Bluetooth transmitters that you can attach to bigger pieces of machinery, such as your pumps and generators.

Keeping Track of Heavy-duty Equipment: Use GPS or 3G and 4G networks

The big guns, such as your bulldozers, graders, cranes and loaders, will require GPS tracking equipment. For these machines, it’s not just about tracking the site on which they’re located – it’s using the software to help with maintenance, too.

This is achieved by integrating specialist asset tracking technology into the diagnostics of your heavy machinery. The technology collects engine data and mileage, enabling you to keep track of dates for servicing and necessary part replacements.


What are the Benefits of Asset Tracking Software?

If we were to put the benefits of asset tracking into a tool bag, “less time wasted” would only take up one pocket. Here are some other reasons why you should be looking to invest in an asset tracking system.

✔ Efficient Management

  • Record heaps of equipment data, including location, use and cost
  • Keep control of small, medium and large equipment
  • Decrease tool downtime

✔ Share Information

  • Data available for office and field staff
  • Enables efficient planning of projects
  • Efficient budgeting will lead to better pitching for projects

✔ Streamline Everything

  • Work smarter and faster
  • With information on one database, audits are easy

Case Study – Xtreme Drilling

What benefits has investing in asset tracking software brought to Xtreme Drilling?

Finding a better way to keep track of tools has enabled the company to streamline their spare parts management. The whereabouts, condition, status and readiness for use of their spare parts are now available for everyone to see.

As a result, Xtreme Drilling majorly cut down on the time they spent sourcing tools, as well as the money they spent renting tools unnecessarily!

▶ Read more: Best RFID Asset Tracking

What are the Major Tool Tracking Companies?

So who are the major players in the asset tracking industry? These are the three on our radar:

Tenna

Quick overview

Tenna provide asset tracking solutions on all different levels. Whether you’re after a simple QR code scanning system or a robust GPS tracking system for your heavy-duty machinery, Tenna’s team of specialists will be able to advise you on a bespoke system for your company. With five star reviews across the web and consistent high marks for customer support, your company will be in safe hands with Tenna.

Strengths

Create a customized system

Use the system to route vehicles, too

Weaknesses

Only designed for mid-sized companies and larger

Verizon Connect

Quick overview

As a complete solution company, Verizon Connect will ensure your tool organisation is fully automated and optimized for efficient working. You can combine their asset tracking software with their field service solution to really bring your company’s operations into the 21st century. And with their expert consultants on board, you’ll soon be benefiting from a bespoke system.

Strengths

Combine with field service software

Create a complete business solution

Weaknesses

Customer service isn’t as good as others

ON!Track Asset Management (Hilti)

hilti logo
On!Track Asset Management (Hilti)
Quick overview

ON!Track by Hilti is one of the easiest-to-use asset tracking systems because it offers comprehensive training and onboarding, ensuring you're never stuck for too long or spending too much time training your staff. We also found the cloud-based software simple to navigate, and we were impressed by its range of sleek hardware, plus its intuitive mobile app.

Strengths

Comprehensive training provided

Intuitive interface

Weaknesses

Setup and training is full on

Did You Know?

43% of small businesses fail to track assets and inventory effectively. Therefore, having a robust asset tracking system in place could save you time and money.

Further Reading

We've shown you how to keep track of your assets, but there's so much more to learn in the world of asset tracking.  Don't worry, we've got many years of experience in the field know our stuff. Over that time, we've published plenty of articles covering the best asset tracking software, and much more.

If you'd like to learn more about how much asset tracking software might cost your business, then check out our in-depth asset tracking costs guide.

FAQs

How do you keep track of equipment at work?
You have lots of choices when it comes to keeping track of your equipment at work. The main ones are QR code scanning, Bluetooth, GPS trackers, and RFID tags. The best option for you will depend on the size of the equipment and how much of the checking-in and checking-out you want to do manually. For smaller pieces of equipment, for instance, we'd recommend creating QR codes or getting Bluetooth tags that you can scan on your phone to know who's using the tile and which site it's located at.
Can you use Excel for inventory management?
Excel can definitely be used for inventory management, but you'll only be able to set up a very basic system at best. It will also require a lot of inputting data manually, which could be time consuming. Therefore, we'd recommend going for more streamlined solutions, like RFID tracking, that are more intuitive and user-friendly.
Why do we need to maintain inventory of tools and equipment?
The short answer is money. Keeping tracking of your tools and equipment will make sure that nothing is lost or stolen. Inventory management will also let you keep track of where the tools were last used and by who, which can make things easier down the line in case something goes missing.
Written by:

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

Reviewed by:
Maïté Bouhali
Maïté Bouhali Business Software Editor

Maite began her career with Expert Market nearly four years ago as a writer. She quickly developed a passion for the challenges faced by small businesses and now endeavours to help them make informed decisions for their future.

In her current position as Business Software Editor, Maite works closely with writers to ensure that each article is informative, well-researched, engaging, and actionable for readers. With extensive knowledge of CRM, vehicle tracking devices, and fuel cards, she is meticulous in her review of each article and provides detailed feedback before publication.

Whether you’re seeking to stay informed on the latest trends in business software or need guidance in selecting the most appropriate software for your organisation’s needs, Maite is here to help. With her sharp eye for detail and commitment to quality, she is dedicated to supporting businesses in achieving their goals.