10 Feb Tool Tracking: Stay On Task by Staying In-the-Know
How RFID Can Save You Money and Keeps You Productive
When you are always working against the clock to complete the project by the right date, it is hard and costly to manage if you don’t have access to the right tools at the right time. Even if you aren’t actively working on these projects, like a construction worker would be for example, you can probably imagine how important it is to know at any given moment where all the required tools are on site.
The Cost of Lacking Tool Visibility
Despite that need, every year, the construction industry loses an estimated $400 million worth of tools to theft, with some estimates reaching $1 billion in losses . This does not even factor in the cost of misplaced tools, lost time and replacement fees. That is why many companies turn to tool tracking systems.
Tool Tracking with RFID
If you’ve already done some research in tool tracking solutions, you have likely heard of RFID technology and its applications in asset tracking. RFID tool tracking can benefit your team, and your bottom line, in a couple ways.
Reduce Loss and Theft
On average, up to 21% of tools that were stolen alone are recovered. This does not account for tools that are lost. With an RFID tool tracking system, you can greatly reduce the number of tools that go missing. 
Without a tracking system, employees could take up to 90 minutes trying to locate a missing tool. When your employees know exactly where their tools are, they can work faster with fewer interruptions.
This small, automated tracking solution has nearly infinite applications. Our goal is to find the setup and type that works best for you.
Passive VS. Active RFID for Tool Tracking
Are you wondering if RFID is right for you? There is no cut-and-dry answer to this question. It all depends on your budget, how many items you wish to tag, the level of tracking require and other solution needs. Knowing the answers to these questions help to pinpoint which type of RFID tag you need to succeed: active RFID, or passive RFID.
A Quick Course in Active and Passive RFID
Active RFID tags come equipped with an onboard power supply and electronics. This built-in power, whether a battery of solar panel, actively transmits the data it collects to readers. Because it is always online and active, it can feed the readers with real-time data as it is received. That also contributes to it being the more expensive of the two.
Active RFID has a longer range than its passive counterpart. In fact, some tags can read up to 300+ ft, which makes it ideal for larger job sites. In addition to tracking your tools, it can also help in tool maintenance by tracking how often it is serviced and whether it needs to be replaced.
Let’s say you don’t need this level of visibility. Perhaps your jobsite is smaller, or you just need a system to help narrow down which area a tool is in. In a case like this, passive RFID technology may be a better fit for you.
Unlike its active counterpart, passive RFID readers scan in a shorter range known as “pinch points.” These pinch points could be at the entrances to storerooms or jobsites. This way, you can track when a tool passed through this checkpoint and if it ever left.
Another benefit to passive RFID tags is they are typically thinner than active RFID tags and do not require a power supply. The downside to this is that they only transport data when they are scanned at pinch points.
The Price Tag
On average, an active RFID tag will cost you between $15-$40, while the average cost per tag for passive RFID is $0.09-$20.
So, is RFID technology worth it for tracking your tools? The answer differs from company to company. We recommend assessing your current operations and take note of how many tools go missing or are lost during your projects on average, and how many tools you would like to track?
Most importantly, how much is it costing you to lose these tools? Are the tools high value assets? Are you spending more money in work hours than this solution would cost to implement? RFID is expensive. It may not be the best option for all tool tracking. For many of our customers tracking high value assets, however, the money they save by using this technology makes RFID the easy choice.
Are you ready to explore your options? Check out our Need-To-Know Starter Guide for RFID Systems. Then give us a call, and we can talk through your needs and determine if RFID Tool Tracking is a good fit for you.
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