WHERE ARE MY TOOLS? (feat. Tammy Bauer and Marko Milosevic)


Critical path management featuring Chase Wirtz Construction Brothers

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SHOW NOTES


Ever lose a tool? Us too! How do we fix that? Asset management. A way to track what you have, where it is, who has it, and if it was broken by Eddie the last time he used it. We talk with Tammy Bauer and Marko Milosevic about all the various use cases of the Bosch Bluehound system.


From tracking one specific type of asset, to tracking a whole business of assets from consumables to long term assets to auditable assets. We look into how asset tracking has been received by foremen and project managers and how it can be customized to fit the businesses and individual users’ needs.


If you have anything we missed, feel free to text us! - 478-221-7009

RELATED LINKS


Blue Hound Bosch Tools

Bosch On Instagram

Tammy’s LinkedIn

Marko’s LinkedIn


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TRANSCRIPT


Eddie Campbell:

All right, Tammy and Marko, thanks for joining us today. Why don't you tell us who you are and what you do.


Tammy Bauer:

All right. Hey, thanks guys. My name is Tammy Bauer and I work for Bosch Power Tools, specifically in the area of digital services. And I'm here to talk to you about asset management.


Marko Milosevic:

Hey guys, thanks for having us. So my name is Marko Milosevic, [inaudible 00:05:46]. I'm from Eastern Europe. Don't even try to repeat it, it's really tough. So I'm product owner working closely with Tammy and in simple words I would say we're working on that solution so I'm making sure that all our digital requirements are being fulfilled by our customers, that we are building the platform that is serving the purpose. That's for my side.


Tyler Campbell:

Marko, I thought you were from Texas, man. You lied to me.


Marko Milosevic:

I wish. That would be cool.


Eddie Campbell:

I wanted so badly to try to say the name and now I'm scared. I'm not going to.


Tyler Campbell

We've got you guys here to talk to us about asset management today. Tammy, I guess the first question for you, what's the problem you guys are trying to solve in a nutshell?


Tammy Bauer:

When we look at digital services, one of the things that we saw, specifically in the commercial construction space, was really this need to find a way to efficiently track and manage assets. So we really tried to look at common everyday problems that people were experiencing on the job site, everything from equipment flow of assets, to how people were kind of doing workflows, really, essentially, regardless of the asset type or even the brand, we just looked at ways to follow these workflows and really looked at ways to solve them for all users. Everyone from a CEO to an inventory manager can take advantage of looking for ways on how to better manage their assets. So really just ultimately our goal is to make sure that our users are getting the most out of their assets and reducing downtime.


Tyler Campbell

We're really good here on The Construction Brothers about asking stupid questions and so-


Tammy Bauer:

I have stupid answers.


Tyler Campbell

You got good answers. So I'm going to ask a dumb question, but I mean, define assets for me, what kind of things are you tracking?


Tammy Bauer:

Really anything. If you think of everything that it takes to make a job happen, whether that be from a shovel, to a power tool, to a ladder, to a harness, to a bulldozer, those are all things that we took a look at and really tried to reduce pain points, tried to reduce downtime. So really it's anything. And even right down to consumables, bags of mortar, a great example, light bulbs. I mean, things that you wouldn't even think about when you're looking at planning a job, asset management can help you with.


Eddie Campbell:

You're solving that age old problem of, where did I put my shovel?


Tammy Bauer:

Where did I put it? Or who took it, right? Where did it go?


Eddie Campbell:

Marko, in our pre-interview with you guys, you talked about how tracking systems like this, or asset management systems, can help you create a single source of truth. What did you mean there? Can you kind of explain that to me?


Marko Milosevic:

It's not too easy to bring technology to the job sites. Those people have so much things to do, if you tell them, "Hey, you need to use this app or computer every day," just add on on their usual job. I think that we maybe, as an industry, didn't do a great job because we were just pushing different solutions, and then it happened to some construction companies, they have multiple systems, they need to spend so much time. One system for, let's say, Makita tools, one for Bosch, one for Milwaukee. And we all know that people are rarely really just using one type of the tools or one brand.


Marko Milosevic:

I think building that kind of single source of truth, one platform where you can log all of your assets, as we mentioned, from the shower walls to the really super expensive inventory, like some vehicles, so you can have everything in one place, really brings the advantage of technology. So that's really where you can save the time, where you can go in one system, you can assign the tools, you can track them, you can track your costs, everything in one place. That's, I think, direction we need this industry to go. So we have one place that we really use the most advantage from the technology.


Eddie Campbell:

All right, I'll bite. What are you talking about here? So tell us what you've done to try to create that single source of truth.


Marko Milosevic:

I can say from our side. So as I'm saying, it's not about the solutions. I think the most important thing is to bring that kind of mindset on the job sites. And then it's a fair, competitive game. As a market, we will compete with our customers, [inaudible 00:10:04] people, if we have the best product.


Marko Milosevic:

What we have done actually to accommodate their needs, first of all, we made a brand agnostic platform. So that means even though we, as a Bosch, are providing that platform, you can easily log Makita, Milwaukee, DeWalt tools, any brand you would like to do. You can actually invent tool that you have, any brand, you can put it there. So that's one of the things.


Marko Milosevic:

Second thing that we are talking about, single point [inaudible 00:10:28]. We cannot track just tools. And we know the tools are, let's say for construction, 60% of the assets, but there are still so much things around that. So there are consumables, thing that you are using really a lot on a daily basis. So they're like vehicles, employees, all the stuff about the certification on the tools. We are going [inaudible 00:10:47] that you can really go and have the idea of the tools. You can have their manual, you have safety instructions. You really have everything in one place. And on the go, you can have them on your phone and you can use them every time. So I think that's what we believe is [inaudible 00:11:02] and so far from the market, we are hearing really good feedback on that.


Eddie Campbell:

I can have, on my phone, some app or something that I can now use for this tracking system. Tell me something about that tool.


Marko Milosevic:

Yeah, 100%. As we have a solution, I think that's actually the industry standard. So we have a web app for, let's say, the inventory managers. Those are people usually in the office, checking in the tools, checking out the tools, bringing them to the repair and stuff like that. But you also have foreman, you have superintendents, people that are on the go, driving in their car, going from one job site to another. So we have mobile apps and you can actually go, you can scan a tool, and you can see their serial number, when they were bought, when their warranty is expiring, you can see their manual, [inaudible 00:11:48] safety instructions, where they were, who they're assigned to.


Marko Milosevic:

That will give you full transparency so you know actually accountability. That's the important thing. So, because we heard so much times... Those big companies have thousands of tools and they sometimes say, "I don't know, where is that jackhammer. I'll just order a new one." So just imagine how many times they were ordering something when they don't know where it is or who has it. So this is bringing accountability, and eventually, of course, the cost reduction.


Eddie Campbell:

I can think of multiple scenarios that I could use the product manual on my phone. I was just thinking through... I've got this drill press that you need a specific chuck key for in order to put a new bit in. And so you could lose those things like crazy, unless you just lasso it to your drill press. So being able to go in to the app and figure out, hey, this is the kind of chuck that I need in order to tighten things down, that's that's useful information to have.


Marko Milosevic:

It also just one of the things like can you just imagine having so many different tools and stacking all the papers, all the manuals, all the safety instructions, it's like one full room of paper. So that's something. Tammy can also witness, when we're talking to the customers more and more job sites and companies are going paperless. We all know we need to think about our nature and how we are actually treating it. So that's one of the things, it's not the biggest, it does not solve the problems, but definitely one of the directions are companies that we are working with are going to.


Eddie Campbell:

Our dad built a house not long ago, and one of the things I heard him say, a refrain that he had, is that he would get frustrated looking for a tool and he would go repurchase that tool. So he'd end up with multiple drill bits, multiple of this, of that. And I can only imagine on a commercial construction site how that plays itself out across all these trades and everything.


Marko Milosevic:

100%. Also one of the things that we have in our platform is you can actually mark the tools that are not, let's say, viable to be used, like they need to repair. So you can really track how many tools are getting broken. Not to go into that discussion about how much data is valuable in these times for us as, let's say, providers and for the users. So you can say, "Hey, this tool is getting broken like every two weeks. What's happening? Are we misusing them? Is the tool wrong? Do we need to buy some other one?" So there's a lot of use cases for all levels of organization. Why asset tracking, why asset management, is important thing. And more importantly, why that single point of truth is important.


Tyler Campbell

I find using a cordless drill as a hammer never goes well, so that could be part of the reason why your stuff keeps breaking there, Marko.


Marko Milosevic:

Yeah, 100%. That's one of the examples.


Eddie Campbell:

One of the more obvious ones. Thank you, Tyler for that contribution.


Tyler Campbell

You're welcome.


Eddie Campbell:

Construction Brothers.


Marko Milosevic:

[crosstalk 00:14:47] from the name, you can say, but yeah, let's not judge at this point.


Eddie Campbell:

You hit a nerve there, Marko, that I love and that's data capture. General contractors, large general contractors specifically, are very interested in data capture right now. They want to know what they have and what they don't. They want a return on what's happening in the field, so they get that feedback loop and they can leverage that and do it better next time. This is a mechanism for data capture.


Marko Milosevic:

100%. I can just talk about data for half an hour, which kind of data we're collecting and which kind of data points you can have. Just imagine if you're, as you said, general contractor, and you can see where your tool was, who was assigned to that tool, if it was broken in the last two years. You can have the sheets and say, "Hey, this jackhammer from Bosch," or from whoever, "This is getting broken," or something like that.


Marko Milosevic:

You can really kind of, let's say, adapt your portfolio of the tools throughout the years, throughout the time. So that's one of the things. You can see actually how many of your foreman are using the technology. One great example, one of our customers actually want to introduce as a part of the bonus structure, people that are using digital solutions. So that's just, I think, a great way to encourage people to start using digital solutions. So that's one of the things that we can see in the industry.


Eddie Campbell:

Tammy, in our conversation beforehand, you had mentioned a random use of this device that you really wouldn't expect. Can you tell me a little bit about that?


Tammy Bauer:

One of my favorite stories when I look back at times that Marko and I have been on the job site talking to our customers, is a story regarding how well one of our customers was using asset management. They were using it solely to track their fire extinguishers on the job. As you guys know, fire extinguishers a highly regulated item on a job site that needs a lot of maintenance, making sure that it's always charged, ready to go. But it's also a highly audited item, right? OSHA inspectors want to know that these things are ready to go on a job site if needed.


Tammy Bauer:

One of our users, his pain point was really not knowing where his fire extinguishers were or if that they were charged and had maintenance. So he uses BlueHound asset management solely for the management of his fire extinguishers. So all his fire extinguishers are logged in the platform and he's using it to log everything from when somebody charged it, to when it needs to be charged, to the owner's manual. And so if he has to pull for an inspector information related to his fire extinguishers, he doesn't go all around the site anymore, he goes right to that single source of truth, that really readily available piece of information, because he has it all in one place.


Tammy Bauer:

Anything that you want to track on the job site, from tools, to large equipment, to consumables, to even fire extinguishers, asset management can help you manage those things. And so really anything that your crew needs to help manage a job, asset management can help with.


Tammy Bauer:

When I look back at Marko and I, and the time we have on site, that fire extinguisher is always something that I just always go back to as this really unique way that they were able to use asset management to solve one of their problems. So that's always really a fun story for me to go back and remember.


Eddie Campbell:

It's an unexpected but clever use, and I love that. This is something that you may not know all of the use cases for yet.


Tammy Bauer:

Yeah, absolutely. And then, I mean, you think about it and it's really, it's not about the cost of something, but it's really about downtime and safety and those things when they're not working, those are where the downtime being unproductive kind of add up.


Eddie Campbell:

That is another nerve in the construction industry, is we're losing the things that we don't know. We lose through downtime. We have no idea how much sometimes.


Tammy Bauer:

Yeah. And especially now when, unfortunately, COVID made us realize that we have to kind of manage sometimes with less, or manage sometimes away from where we want to be. So how do you take and look at technology and really kind of incorporate it into your business? And like Marko said, we're seeing every day more and more large commercial GCs requiring paperless. So the days of being able to kind of reference that blueprint onsite are slowly going away. So it's all about kind of being ready and embracing it.


Eddie Campbell:

Well, I mean, it's funny because if we were all still using paper, we wouldn't be able to use these amazing little tools like this. I want to hear more about how this works, because I mean, if you're attaching it to a fire extinguisher, it's got to be a little bit smaller, right? So how does this work?


Marko Milosevic:

Just to maybe clarify for the beginning, so our solution is, as we were mentioning, [inaudible 00:19:51] management, so you can track the tools, as we were mentioning, have all the information about specific tools, consumables, and all that, so the hierarchy, as we call them.


Marko Milosevic:

As Tammy mentioned, couple of users are using heavily fire extinguishers, but then you have one user just using just consumables, so they're not logging the tools, they just want simply to track consumables. And I think that's important. That's important to give a solution to every possible option.


Marko Milosevic:

Some people are just heavily in demolition. And for example, one of our customers are one of the biggest companies in Chicago area for demolition and they are actually having one job site a day. So their work is just one day, so they need all the tools to go there in a day and go back and they need to keep track, accountability, everything is really an extremely big level. So that's one of the examples.


Marko Milosevic:

But to go back, let's say, asset tracking and asset management, our joint solution in the Bluehound. So management is one thing where you're having all the tools, and asset tracking is something that's [inaudible 00:20:51] enhancing with our Bluetooth tags. So this is the Bluetooth tag, which is maybe inch by inch. So those are the tags which have Bluetooth 4.0 technology, so we are attaching them to the tools, or to anything that you would like to track.


Marko Milosevic:

To go maybe bit in the technology and how does it work, so I think we're all familiar with the Bluetooth since early days when it was sending the pictures and music and everything. Every foreman nowadays has a cell phone, and a cell phone can be used, as we call it, as a gateway. So these little guys, every seven to eight minutes, they're screaming in air and saying like, I'm here, I'm here, I'm here. So they're carrying information. When you set them up, you say this tag is attached to this specific tool.


Marko Milosevic:

When the mobile phone is catching this scream that these little guys are saying, it's actually hearing where they are, and then you can go into the system and say, "Hey, this tag is actually on this angle grinder," and then you can know where it is.


Marko Milosevic:

Also one of the great things, if you don't want to use a Bluetooth, you can just actually [inaudible 00:21:53] camera instead of the app, then you have a small QR codes on them and it can pop out the tool page where you can change the assignee, you can add documents, you can do everything. You so-called ID all the tools. So that's basically the technology and we are currently working in direction to make that even more seamless, to make it even more 24/7.


Marko Milosevic:

There are a bunch of ideas that we are now exploring with the gateways [inaudible 00:22:18] on the job sites. Until we really get to the solution when we, as an industry, are in moment where we can say that the real IOT that these little guys have the [inaudible 00:22:28] and they can send the information all the way around, then we can talk about the full GPS tracking. But currently this is like the Bluetooth technology, which is allowing you to keep track where your tools are.


Eddie Campbell:

Tammy, what do you recommend to people when they say, I don't know, maybe, what I want to track. I love this solution. I know I want asset tracking. But I'm not sure where I would start. Do you have any kind of baseline that you would help them say, well, did you think about this?


Tammy Bauer:

What we really do is we really encourage people to be honest. We really encourage people to start small. Start with managing one or two things, whether that be tools, or ladders, or harnesses, or forklifts, but start small, get to learn it, get used to technology, have your guys get used to the technology, and then go from there, build on it. but it doesn't have to be all or nothing. You can adapt technology slow. So that's one of the things that we really encourage people to do, is figure out that one pain point that you want to address today and then worry about the rest of tomorrow. But today just focus on that one thing that you want to try to make better.


Eddie Campbell:

If that's a fire extinguisher for you, then do that.


Tammy Bauer:

Right. And for the other guy it's consumables. And for the other guy it's just his rotary hammers. Or for somebody else it's just forklifts and compliance of what guys have had forklift training. So each person is different, and that's also, I think, one of the things that Marko and I really enjoy about working on this category is because it's always different. We're always interacting with different users and different use cases, so it kind of keeps it very interesting. At least for us.


Eddie Campbell:

What's an example of a consumable you can track?


Tammy Bauer:

A bag of mortar is a great example. Bits, another great example, right? You can have that rotary hammer, but if you don't have that bit, that tool's useless. So we see a lot of those things. A lot of everyday common items that we take for granted, but if we don't have them it really stops and it really shuts down the job.


Tammy Bauer:

That $10 shovel that gets lost, or $20 shovel, that can't be found, it's not about that shovel, but it's about that downtime that that missing shovel represents. So we always encourage people just to kind of look at what does your business use a lot of, what does your business depend on? In the case of a demo contractor, his needs are going to be really different compared to a construction concrete guy. So looking at your individual business and what does your business depend on?


Eddie Campbell:

I think a lot of it depends on what you're currently doing with your business too. How are people handling asset tracking right now?


Tammy Bauer:

Right now today there's a whole gamut of how people are tracking it. We get responses when we ask, "How do you track your assets today?" Everything from the deer in the headlights look, to people that have a really well-defined process. But it's not uncommon for us to get the answer of, "What do you mean? I track it in my head," or "I just know," or "I write it down on a slip," or "I give it to the person in the office." There's all different ways.


Tammy Bauer:

We also know that users kind of track and identify their tools really uniquely as well. It's not uncommon for our users to etch numbers or markings into their tools, or paint individual or unique numbers. But either way, they're managing them in some fashion. And more than likely, it probably involves types of paper. And again, paper is going away. So, how do we look at different ways to track things and ways that are faster?


Tammy Bauer:

To Marko's point, today, foreman, superintendents, we all have these mobile things that we carry around. And so how do we take advantage of those things and how do we get the most value from those mobile things? And tracking assets is one of those