Ford believes it has come up with the solution to prevent tradesmen from losing their tools.
Engineers at Ford Pro in Germany have developed tracking devices that can be installed onto any tool, machine, and piece of equipment and use Bluetooth connectivity and GPS tracking. These devices can connect to company vehicles and then to a central server so their location is always known.
Ford says that all employees of a specific company could keep track of the tools and equipment by using a computer, the in-car screen of a work vehicle, and through a dedicated smartphone and tablet app. Not only will a live map show the locations of all the company’s equipment but tools can be searched for and located based on ‘vehicle,’ ‘storage,’ ‘tool type,’ and ‘tool name.’ Tools can also be listed as ‘working,’ ‘broken,’ or in ‘maintenance.’
The car manufacturer says that having a full list of the tools on a work vehicle will allow for faster loading and checking of the vehicle’s inventory. It should also make it more efficient to transport equipment between sites and make job planning that much easier.
“Even the most attentive worker can leave behind a toolbox at the end of a long day or forget a hand tool when rushing to another job,” supervisor of CV Ecosystems, Research and Advanced Engineering at Ford of Europe, Walter Pijls, said. “On busy sites, tools can sometimes get mixed up or be stolen if left overnight. As work projects often have tight schedules, spending time to replace lost equipment can cause a cascade of problems, with every delay costing time and money.”
Ford says that businesses lose €450 ($447) worth of equipment per work vehicle on average in Germany. The tracking service will be made available once more research is conducted in different markets.