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Delivering a bespoke tool store solution in WA

A ground-breaking construction project required an on-site tool store to manage all consumables, tooling and equipment, certification and traceability.

The project

In May 2020, Coates Hire was engaged by an East Coast-based contractor to supply and manage the hire and procurement of all diesel equipment, tooling and consumables such as PPE for a waste processing facility near Perth. Currently under construction, the project is the first of its kind in Australia and is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

The problem

The contractor wanted a temporary tool store set up on site for all sub-contractors to use, instead of the sub-contractors bringing in their own tools and equipment. “Historically, we set up tool stores for plant shutdowns that last between 2-6 weeks – this project is planned to go for 14 months,” says Neil Moore, a Product Specialist with Coates Hire’s Industrial Solutions team based in Belmont, WA.

As the customer had secured other similar projects in WA, they asked Coates Hire to not only supply tools and equipment for hire (including lighting towers, generators, compressors and elevated work platforms), but also manage the procurement of all low-value tooling (such as hammers, screwdrivers, drills and grinders).

The customer also needed a management system that could track tools to personnel, as well as record certification and registration of specialist welding materials and consumables.

“The customer was adamant that they wanted the flexibility to procure the small tools, or to hire. Given this is not the standard Coates hire model it took a bit of convincing on my part to get our management on board. It was a bit of a new offering for us,” Neil says.

The solution

Coates Hire has applied our extensive experience in managing tool stores for shutdowns and maintenance events to running a longer-term tool store at the construction site. “If we haven’t got it on site, the sub-contractor requests it and we get it – think of it as a Coates Hire branch and hardware store on site,” says Neil.

Detailed reporting via Coates Hire’s proprietary CHASE system has enabled the customer to make data-driven decisions about whether to hire or buy equipment.

“It wasn’t cost-effective for the customer to purchase diesel equipment because they wouldn’t get their investment back over the duration of the project, so they’re hiring that from us. But on the small tooling, it was more cost-effective in places for the customer to purchase it and get us to manage it,” says Neil.

Like many companies, the pandemic meant Coates Hire had to quickly implement additional protocols for cleaning equipment and keeping staff safe. It also necessitated a different way of working for all parties. “A lot of the negotiation was done via Microsoft Teams and phone calls from my home office because the customer couldn’t take visitors at that point,” says Neil.

The impact

The on-site tool store is a one-stop shop for the customer, reducing the amount of stores people on site and maximising efficiency. “They have one supplier who is able to do all aspects of tool, equipment and consumable management including certification and traceability,” says Neil.

The CHASE asset management system, meanwhile, allows the customer to manage, monitor and control costs, including flagging duplicate equipment requests, and spend less time on administration. It brings in a level of accountability on the user of the tool to safeguard future availability and reduce costs associated with lost and damaged tools and the purchasing of replacement equipment.

“We produce one invoice for the customer per month via CHASE, along with a report with the data of who had what and when. The customer benefits from a complete breakdown of costs split across the tool store, consumables and diesel equipment,” says Neil.

The customer has also benefitted from Coates Hire’s relationships with local suppliers and our ability to mobilise equipment quickly for unplanned events. “They’re able to lean on us and tap into our knowledge of other local specialist suppliers in the area. If the customer wants any item, we know where to source it quickly,” says Neil.

“We had a situation recently where the customer wanted some hand tools in a hurry but the lead-times on procuring them were 4-6 weeks,” he continues. “We had it in stock at our industrial services department at Belmont, so we mobilised our hire fleet to the site until the procurement turned up. We started delivering that day and the order was complete by the following day.”

Need a tool store on your site? Call our Industrial Solutions team today on 13 15 52


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