Have you heard of the Apple AirTag or the Galaxy SmartTag? They’re two examples of small personal tracking devices equipped with Bluetooth technology. You attach them to things you want to keep a close eye on, like your keys, your wallet or your bike. A lot of people are sticking them on luggage these days — if the airline loses your bag, you’ve got a record of exactly where it is.
Personal trackers aren’t built for the rigors of the worksite, but there are comparable products made specifically for construction tools and attachments. Generally called “work-tool locators” or something similar, they attach to a bucket, a set of forks, a mulcher — pretty much any non-powered item. Then they use Bluetooth to send information about that tool back to you on your laptop or mobile device.
What’s the advantage of that? Here are three big benefits:
1. Increase productivity
Work tool locators give you the exact GPS location of whatever they’re attached to. That can lead to significant time savings if you operate across multiple sites or on large jobsites. No more searching around looking for a specific item — just pull out your phone to see exactly where it is and put it to work right away. Or you can plan ahead to make sure what you need is on location when you need it. Either way, instead of wasting time searching for tools and attachments, your team spends that time on productive, moneymaking tasks.
2. Avoid loss
It’s not uncommon for tools and attachments to get misplaced or accidentally left behind on-site, especially if you’re busy working on multiple projects. There’s also the risk of theft. The latest report from the National Equipment Register and National Insurance Crime Bureau says equipment theft costs contractors around $400 million a year. Only about 20% of stolen goods are ever recovered. Work tool locators help you keep track of your valuable investments. Many also let you set up site boundaries — so if a work tool leaves an area it’s not supposed to, you’ll get an alert immediately.
3. Plan maintenance
In addition to providing GPS location data, most locators give you information about the number of hours a particular tool or attachment has been in service. When you know the working hours, you’re better equipped to predict the need for maintenance or replacement of wear parts. And that can help prevent unplanned repairs and downtime.