Earlier this month in Las Vegas, Nevada, Trimble held their annual Dimensions+ conference, the first time they’ve been able to hold the event in three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The show celebrated a lot of what is coming down the road for Trimble and the AEC industry at large, and one of the big overall takeaways from the show was the importance of integrating adjacent products – both from within and outside the Trimble product roadmap – to streamline workflows for their users. That was the theme of one of their big announcements at the show, integrating one of their software programs with a big name from the industry. Specifically, they announced that the Hilti Group’s ON!Track asset management system will be integrated with Trimble Viewpoint Vista, a solution within the Trimble Construction One suite.
With this integration, two of the leaders in providing tools and software for the AEC industry join forces, specifically to track the usage and placement of tools on a job site. For Hilti Group, which is based in Europe with their headquarters in Liechtenstein, this is their first North American integration with an enterprise resource planning solution, per the press release. That said, they are certainly not a new name in North America, with their solutions advancing the idea of jobsite automation as the company has pursued the future of construction workflows.
With this partnership in particular, users of Trimble’s software will now have access to the asset management tool provided by Hilti. At a broad level, with this new integration those users will be able to have a single source of truth to track the usage and placement of their tools and equipment to provide more confidence in their knowledge about how equipment was used on a site and where it was used last, all without having to do manual checks. All of the information is tracked within one solution that is easy to find and update.
All of this provides much more efficiency to the workflow on a worksite as well as the potential for significant cost savings. There are two major benefits from the Hilti solution: Preventing the loss and theft of tools and equipment on a job site, as well as eliminating the need for manual entry of equipment use history. That latter part can lead to both increased theft and loss, as the manual checks lead to inevitable human error even with double checks.
At the same time, it also takes a considerable amount of time to complete these manual checks. According to Michael McGowan, region head and CEO of Hilti North America, jobsites lose “on average one day per month of productivity due to workers searching for tools. In addition, the contractors end up spending up to 90 hours per month tracking tools.” That’s a significant amount of time that can be freed up for those workers to complete more important tasks, in turn helping to reduce the likelihood of a project finishing behind schedule.
With the ON!Track tool from Hilti, tools and equipment throughout a site can be equipped with tracking tags from Hilti, which are connected to tools with their usage uploaded to the company’s software. In addition to saving time and preventing loss and theft, these tags will also provide key information about key usage information that needs to be added to customer invoices, and also help identify tools and equipment that are potentially underutilized. With this information, firms can have a better idea about which equipment they should look to avoid buying for future projects.
All of this information can then be transferred into Trimble’s Viewpoint Vista, which tracks and reports critical financial data. This is just another piece of key information that can now be easily gleaned by Trimble customers as they look to work with the most current and accurate information to work as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible as the company works to provide end-to-end service to their customers.
On this integration, McGowan commented, “An integration between ON!Track and Viewpoint Vista maximizes the benefits of asset/tool tracking data by automatically providing contractors the information they need to track, allocate, bill and estimate for accurate tool and equipment use.” Trimble vice president and general manager of construction management solutions Lawrence Smith added, “This integration is yet another way we are automating and connecting data for contractors, which streamlines workflows and helps contractors more efficiently deploy their people and assets to build profitable projects.”
These tools have shown tangible value in the field already as well, with Maria Lumke, CFO of New Hampshire-based civil general contractor Waterline Industries saying, “Tracking small tools—whether in repair status, on location or with employees and the associated costs—is one of the most ineffective parts of accounting and internal controls in a construction company. We have tried many things, including inventorying vans, assigning tools to employees and assigning tools to jobs – to no avail. The product Trimble and Hilti have developed will be a revolutionary step for internal controls and accountability of tools in a construction company.”