Supply chain professionals can all agree, seconds wasted during production are nothing to brush under the rug. Seconds easily add up to minutes and hours of unproductivity, costing the company time and money. Every second wasted is less time spent on production and more time paying employees to do work that doesn’t directly produce results.
Time and money can be saved throughout the supply chain in a variety of ways. In fact, the supply chain still has so much area for improvement that we created a whole software system for it. One of the areas in need of greater efficiency, but often looked over, is tool crib management.
It’s no secret that manual processes slow down supply chains. This is true even for simple sign-in sign-out standards in most tool cribs. The unavoidable nature of human error contributes to lost tools and confusion within the manufacturing plant. These critical minutes spent looking for tools are not a productive use of time and take away from the forward movement of the supply chain.
The best supply chain strategies mitigate the occurrences of immediate or last-minute attention luring issues. The best-managed supply chains are proactively managed supply chains, even for comparably small tasks such as single tool calibrations or maintenance needs. A digital tool crib accurately tracks the health of tools, signaling users with enough notice that preventative maintenance or calibrations (that may be necessary for certifications) are upcoming or due. Staying on top of these requirements is a necessary piece of the supply chain puzzle.
One of the biggest problems that extend across all facets of the supply chain is time spent looking for things. No supply chain professional feels good about searching for things they should have. It goes against the productive nature of supply chain strategies. Not to mention, it is costly to spend paid labor time on unnecessary processes; searching facilities is an expensive use of time. It is important to know everything possible about tools that enter in and out of the tool crib to reduce time looking for tools.
It also reduces the amount of money spent on replacing lost or stolen tools. With a highly accurate historical and real-time record of who took the tool, when they took it, and how long they’ve had it, it’s simple to locate tools and return to revenue-driving actives.
The realities of a productive tool crib management strategy are equally true for consumables and MROs. From gloves and batteries to tape and towels, these items add overhead costs each time they’re checked out. Visibility to monitor the most used consumable items, who needs them the most, and when they are needed can help forecast budget, implement restrictions, level-up accountability, and create more accurate billing either by department or by job.
The digital transformation of the tool crib is a step toward full supply chain visibility that makes companies more profitable and productive.