Barbara E. Thompson
Software Integration Services Ltd. (Edmonton, AB, Canada) now offers a gold and platinum version of its Tool Hound for Windows. Tool Hound, a PC-based inventory-control package for tool cribs, uses bar-code technology to ensure that issues and returns of tools, supplies, and parts are handled quickly and accurately. Built-in bar-code readers give you the mobility to pick up and put away tools efficiently.
"Basically, it`s a database library system," says Graham Cooper, tool management consultant. "When requesting a tool, the employee presents his or her card, and the tool is scanned into the database. The tool is signed out to that employee, providing the company with an effective control system to minimize tool losses.
"Each tool has to be bar-coded," Cooper explains. "The initial setup is fairly labor-intensive, but it`s a one-time deal."
Tool Hound supports different portable data collectors--both batch and radio frequency (RF). It can transmit and receive data in batch files transmitted from scanner to computer via an RS-232 hookup. With its tool-repair tracking and numerous reporting options, it lets you determine your current inventory levels and lets you know who has what tools and which tools are in for repair. You can also keep track of items to be inspected or calibrated on a scheduled basis using the preventive-maintenance software.
"Tool Hound was born in 1988 as a basic program," says Cooper. "Today, it`s an integrated program where you can have different modules, RF or batch scanning, and multiple tool cribs, all tailored to your application."
The gold and platinum software versions of Tool Hound support unlimited employees, tools and equipment; they also provide tool-repair tracking and preventive-maintenance capabilities, a password system and batch bar-code scanning. Depending on which version you choose, options can include a replenishment module (that automates tool reordering), RF communication and a custom report writer.
Software Integration Services Ltd. also provides Tool Hound installation, setup and technical training. For more information, call (800) 387-8665, or visit the company`s Web site at http://www. sisltd.com.