Smart, Connected Inventory Management Fuels More Efficient Service Teams – Interview with Milwaukee Tool

inventory management

Cloud-based solution allows contractors to program tools and inventory from a mobile app; promotes connected service environment.

How often does your service team misplace a part or tool in the field? Worse yet, how many times do technicians show up onsite without the parts they need to complete a repair or PM? Those lost or forgotten parts can become costly burdens for service teams: the return trips, the unbilled parts, the replacement costs.

To address the frustrations associated with lost tools and provide a way for users to completely customize the experience they have with their tools, Milwaukee Tool developed the first digital platform that can communicate directly with tools.

In September 2015, Milwaukee Tool launched the platform One-Key™ as a free mobile application and web resource. According to Christian Coulis, Vice President of Product Management, the cloud-based platform allows Milwaukee Tool customers to connect and control their power tools in an unprecedented way.

As part of MSI’s Field Service Things series, we wanted to see how Milwaukee Tool’s new system to connect parts, tools, and inventory could help service organizations increase revenue by reducing truck rolls, keeping tools performing at top levels, and eliminating inefficient paper methods of tracking inventory.

Christian Coulis of Milwaukee Tool

Benefits of Connected Inventory Management

As a dynamic service company, you’re in charge of managing an abundance of parts and inventory, often dispersed across multiple warehouses. Service software with mobile makes that process simpler by keeping track of what you have in stock, who has what parts, and what you need to order.

To complement a service app, Milwaukee Tool’s One-Key™ app communicates with BlueTooth™ in the tool itself so users can see performance levels and location, monitor how it’s used, and customize each tool for better control over power, speed and consistency.

“One-Key users can connect to a tool and set it up for the work they do,” said Coulis. “They can create custom performance profiles, save it to the tool, and go to work knowing they will have the most control over their application as possible.”

“Through Inventory Management, Tool Reporting, and Tool Control, contracting companies and their contractors in the field, will be able to track and customize the tools they use every day to better address their specific needs while on the jobsite, which will make contractors much more efficient.”

inventory management

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Industry Examples

Milwaukee Tool manufactures and delivers solutions to companies in a variety of industries, including construction, service, heavy equipment, electrical, and plumbing. One-Key™ delivers cloud monitoring solutions for companies in any industry that uses power tools. Here are some concrete examples of how the connected solution works on the job.

  • Construction: Construction companies will find the inventory management feature beneficial as they track inventory and assets. One-Key™ allows the company to keep all of their important information in one place rather than juggling excel spreadsheets or pen and paper to manage inventory. Users can keep detailed records of all inventory to easily build a budget and manage annual spend of equipment. The app enables instant and easy information sharing between the field and back office by assigning locations and owners to each inventory item.
  • Heavy Equipment: Professionals handling heavy work need power and speed, but often that excessive power can make it hard to control effectively; this can lead to breaking off screws, damage to materials and other frustrating rework. By giving One-Key™ users the ability to customize their tool’s speed and torque settings, Milwaukee Tool puts the power in their hands. Advanced electronics inside the tool monitor its output, offering unmatched control and consistency with every trigger pull.
  • Electrical contractors: Electrical contractors will find the Tool Reporting features beneficial as it will allow them to upload data and history to create custom reports that track the success and timing of electrical terminations. Using this information to guide installations and service work, electrical contractors can become more efficient while making their customers more efficient.

The Future of IoT, Connected Solutions for Contractors and Service Workers

“We believe One-Key™ is just the beginning for our users: the beginning of providing a level of access to information they’ve never had before. Reporting tools are going to continue growing. We’ll be reporting not just on tools, but on inventory, consumables, and anything that the contractor uses. We’re seeing the beginning of a fully connected jobsite.”

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The future of field service will be defined by IoT. Learn how it will impact industrial service businesses, how to prepare your team for the shift, and examples of companies already taking advantage of the possibilities the IoT has to offer.

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How the Internet of Things is Revolutionizing Field Service