Product: ToolHound 5

The Client

Serving the rental needs of both private sector and corporate customers, Herc Rentals boasts one of the largest inventories of rental equipment in Canada. In particular, the company’s Shutdown Division handles an extensive number of assets in order to meet the demands of large industrial plants, mills and refineries shut down for repair and maintenance.

The Challenge

Using mobile tool trailers to ship equipment to all corners of the country, Herc needed an efficient means of controlling their assets.

When Herc’s Shutdown Division receives a request for a tool trailer, they send out a manned trailer stocked with all the equipment needed at the job site. An effective tool control system is necessary, not only to keep track of these tools and equipment but also to enable the rental company to report on their client’s tool usage.

"The guys don’t have to be at a keyboard. You’re not tied to the computer."

The Solution

Utilizing the latest advances in bar code and wireless scanner technology, ToolHound offers Herc greater control of their assets while replacing the massive amount of paperwork previously necessary to track inventory.

Herc’s tool trailers arrive on-site complete with ToolHound, radio frequency (RF) scanners, and bar coded tools. Employees at the site are either assigned ID cards by Herc or their existing personnel data is downloaded into the system and used as their ToolHound ID.

One of the benefits of the wireless scanners is that it allows the operator the ability to scan both tool and employee bar codes from anywhere in the crib. Support Services Technician, Phil Tkachuk, sees this as a significant advantage. “The guys don’t have to be at a keyboard,” he relates. “You’re not tied to the computer.”

In addition to the mobility WiFi offers, it sends and receives data in real-time. Operators always have up-to-date information about the status of equipment and employees. If an employee at the counter has an overdue tool or is not certified to use the item they are trying to sign out, ToolHound will display the information on the scanner’s screen. Or if the tool being issued is due for servicing, a message will appear on the scanner to inform the operator.

And of course, any data scanned into the handheld is sent just as quickly back to the PC. Nothing is stored on the scanner for download later. The database is always kept accurate and up-to-the-minute, making it easy to run current reports on any aspect of inventory at any time during the shift.

The Results

The ability to keep track of inventory items in such an efficient and reliable manner means that ToolHound brings a measure of accountability to Hertz’s mobile tool cribs. “The whole reason we’re there is accountability”. This accountability lies in the ability to locate items and generate needed reports quickly and easily.

“The pre-built reports are very important items that we use daily. Getting the data out in a way that is usable is very, very important.”

Of course, the system also boasts a number of other time and money-saving features: repair and maintenance tracking, verification of employee certification, and tool rental and sales billing. Tkachuk especially likes that an operator’s access to system menus can be controlled by the supervisor. Functions can be set to view only or even eliminated from the screen according to what user group the operator is assigned.

Herc has been utilizing ToolHound’s inventory control abilities since 1992 and continues to count on the system to maintain accountability and efficiency at the work site. Item availability, usage information, and employee data are all available in seconds — without ever touching the computer keyboard. 

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