Manage Your Tool and Equipment Inventories
Time flies when you’re building the construction industry’s largest and most comprehensive inventory management system—just ask Milwaukee Tool, whose One-Key is already turning five years old. Not only does the Milwaukee One-Key network now boast over five million location updates per day for management and loss-prevention purposes, but it’s also gathered a mountain of tool utilization data that helps project managers eliminate inefficiencies. Now, Milwaukee Asset ID Tags (think QR code tags) expand its digital inventory management to allow even greater visibility and control over tools and equipment. Milwaukee’s Associate Product Manager Dean Gagliano and Group Program Manager for One-Key Andrew Lambert graciously took some time to tell us how the Asset ID Tags system works with One-Key.
- Milwaukee One-Key Asset ID Tags stick to tools and products to track inventory
- Works on any mobile device with an integrated camera and One-Key app installed
- Scan the tags to record time and location data
- Available in small or large sizes
- Available for plastic and metal surfaces
- Price: $79 -$129
What are Milwaukee One-Key Asset ID Tags?
Andrew explains that Milwaukee spends a great deal of time at tool cribs and on job sites. They found that the common barcode method of inventory management has several weaknesses. First, barcodes are cheap stickers that easily peel off. Second, when they get scratched, the scanner might not be able to read them. Also, the scanner itself is an added cost. It must be kept up to date and is itself a piece of equipment that must be tracked. Milwaukee saw the opportunity to develop a better option that could withstand job site conditions and remain effective throughout the life cycle of the tool.
Milwaukee Asset ID Tags vs Barcodes
Milwaukee’s rugged Asset ID Tags with QR codes function far better than barcodes. They feel they’re the best solution since the technology easily integrates into the existing One-Key app. This eliminates the weakness of the bar code stickers and makes the use of an external scanner unnecessary. It also brings tools into the fold that aren’t inherently One-Key or use the Milwaukee Tick. That includes tools not even manufactured by Milwaukee at all. Obviously, contractors have all sorts of valuable tools and equipment that fall into this category—hand tools, job carts, backhoe buckets, generators, and much more.
But the beauty of the Tags’ enhanced durability is more than skin deep. Unlike a standard barcode sticker, the QR code spans the entire thickness of the Asset ID Tag such that it can’t be scratched off. If the Tag is damaged, the QR can still be scanned. QR codes are also easy for a mobile device’s camera to read from varying angles and distances. This increases the speed of scanning and making a dedicated scanner unnecessary.
How Do Milwaukee Asset ID Tags Work?
Let’s say you’ve just applied a new Milwaukee Asset ID Tag to a no- or low-wear area of a tool or piece of equipment (possibly even the battery bay of a cordless tool). Using the One-Key App on your mobile device, you simply enter the new inventory item after scanning the QR code which, you’ll notice, has an alphanumeric code below it. Time and location based on the mobile device’s location—”last seen” information—then gets sent to the tool’s owner as indicated in the App. Likewise, scanning an existing item sends last seen information to the owner. This process can be done on a PC using the alphanumeric code instead of the QR code, but the process is optimized for mobile devices.
Types of Milwaukee One-Key Asset ID Tags
What makes Milwaukee’s Asset ID Tags the best solution? First, Milwaukee created two different types of tags. They have one for plastic surfaces and one for metal surfaces. Both surface types have a large and small tag option for a total of four tags in the Asset ID Tag offering. All tags use a much stronger bonding adhesive than typical barcode stickers. The adhesive stands up to both temperature fluctuations and even exposure to water.
For plastic surfaces, the Tags are made of a coated velvet Lexan well-suited for the contours and material of tool bodies. The metal surface Tags are made of anodized aluminum and look much like a daguerreotype photograph.
Why an Asset ID Tag and not a Milwaukee Tick?
Perhaps the Milwaukee Tick won’t fit comfortably due to a tool’s size. Other times, a tool’s simply not expensive enough to justify the cost of a Bluetooth tracker. Of course, the Asset ID Tags don’t ping the Bluetooth network as an integrated One-Key tool or Tick does. They do, however, greatly expand inventory management capability and ensure less loss and downtime. They also make keeping track of tools and equipment much easier and accessible to more tool users of all kinds. In short, these smart Milwaukee QR code tags expand your ability to manage inventory in your shop or organization.
Who Uses Milwaukee Asset ID Tags?
Milwaukee has been pleasantly surprised by tool users’ adoption of Asset ID Tags. Not only have large outfits ditched their barcodes for Milwaukee’s system, but so have smaller teams with ten tools. Even DIYers are jumping on board. After all, for the DIYer, it’s just as important to know your brother-in-law has your circular saw as it is for the contractor to know where he placed ten drills. Asset ID Tags simply offer a low price barrier to keeping track of your stuff.
Available Sizes, SKUs, and Pricing
The Milwaukee One-Key Asset ID Tags come in two sizes, small (0.69″ x 1″) and large (1.5″ x 2″). The small plastic surface tags come in stacks of 200 and retail for $79. The large plastic surface tags come in sets of 100 and retail for $119. The small metal surface tags come in 100-count packs, retailing for $129. Twenty-five of the large metal tags will also run you $129.
- Small plastic surface 200 count Velvet Lexan tags (48-21-0001) – $79
- Large plastic surface 100 count Velvet Lexan tags (48-21-0002) – $119
- Small metal surface 100 count anodized aluminum tags (48-21-0003) – $129
- Large metal surface 25 count anodized aluminum tags (48-21-0004) – $129
One-Key’s trifecta of connected tools, tracking, and software now includes 50 tools with plans to increase to 70 by the end of 2021. Milwaukee recently released a multi-user functionality that replaces the Guest User format with an invitation to join the enterprise. It lets you assign a segment of tools to a particular project manager and job. One-Key also now integrates with Procore Project Management Software to give enterprises a much higher level of visibility. This includes utilization data on tools such as torque wrenches and crimpers. Milwaukee should continue to leverage the IOT (Internet of Things) to increase efficiency and help the construction industry further raise the bar.
For more information on Milwaukee Asset ID Tags and One-Key visit their website.