Trimble and Hilti to Integrate On!Track Tool Tracking with Trimble Viewpoint

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Trimble has announced at Trimble Dimensions+ Conference in Las Vegas a partnership with the Hilti Group to integrate the tool and technology vendor’s ON!Track asset management system with the Trimble Construction One suite.

Hilti currently offers its On!Track tool management software application that combines Bluetooth tracking devices on its tools to a cloud application that captures data from the tagged tools every two minutes. The On!Track application monitors tool usage, location and battery condition to support a spectrum of business functions including maintenance, decommissioning of equipment, certification management for various tools and, for rented equipment, rental return dates. Hilti tools will come standard with the requisite sensors and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons and can install beacons on non-Hilti tools during a brief onboarding process.

ON!Track combines Bluetooth asset tags, cloud-based software and field resource management software to solve problems related to asset and workforce management, including managing assets, consumables, service and repair needs, workers, and safety certifications in using a cloud service available on any device.

“What we do is offer a field management system to handle the key workflows,” Hilti Executive Vice President and Head of the Business Tool Unit Michael Neidow said in a briefing session with IronPros. “Together with Trimble, we can integrate ON!Track with Viewpoint so it can also be used in financial management. This includes job costing—which can now be automated, making sure the cost of equip gets allocated correctly with this out-of-the-box integration. We also track utilization and can compare that to benchmarks for equipment utilization. This helps contractors make more informed decisions on what to buy or rent.”

The On!Track application can also track battery status, and as a battery seems to be deteriorating it can order a new one automatically as part of the subscription service—moving hand tools further in the direction towards servitization or ‘tools-as-a-service.’ This enables a contractor to ensure availability and uptime at a predictable cost.

Implementing the On!Track system is rapid, and takes between one and two months—running towards the longer end of that range depending on complexity and availability of the customer and whether or not the customer needs tags added to non-Hilti tools.

Adding Value to Viewpoint

Trimble has invested extensively in the internet of things (IoT), creating intelligent connections between field-based equipment from wheel loaders, dozers, excavators, compactors and more and back-office systems. These connections may help automate production in the field, digitally capture production information for reporting or both. This increases the utility of back-office applications like ERP by eliminating manual processes, providing real-time visibility into assets in the field and driving automation further into the business. In the case of the Hilti integration, Viewpoint gains enhanced ability to manage workflows encompassing both people and equipment assigned to projects.

“Viewpoint ERP is used for managing the general ledger and job cost, but also managing resources like human capital,” Trimble Vice President and General Manager, Construction Management Solutions (Viewpoint and MEP) Lawrence Smith said. “We have onboarding solutions to help you onboard personnel and labor, and that becomes pretty critical to keep matched up with the Hilti contract solution. You can send that deployment info to Hilti On!Track.”

This represents a growth opportunity for both organizations.

“We have a lot of customers with our ERP that have Hilti tools but do not have the On!Track system,” Smith said. “But for Viewpoint customers, this is a way to ensure an element of project cost information gets matched up to the right phase.”

“With this integration, a contractor management team can track which employees are on which job sites, along with utilization and the hourly rate of any equipment,” Neidow said, reiterating that the up-front process and subscription and Viewpoint integration add value to the Bluetooth technology on the tools themselves. “One element is the software, the other is an end to end service—our people go on site to help customers make the initial inventory and tag equipment. They can buy Hilti tools without On!Track, they can add the On!Track service to start tracking their tools, or they can opt to also integrate with Viewpoint.”

Solving real problems for contractors

"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," said Maria Lumke, CFO of Waterline Industries, a New Hampshire-based civil general contractor. "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."

"Hilti ON!Track has greatly reduced the 'run to the store and buy what you need' when we already own and have tools nearby," said Keeley O'Brien, president and CEO of O'Brien Co., an Oregon-based general contractor. "It takes mere seconds to transfer tools in the field, eliminating excuses about not having the right tools because no one knows where they are. It's made it very easy to inventory, track history, and locate tools and equipment."

A long track record

The integration is Hilti's first North American integration with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution but is not Hilti and Trimble’s first collaboration. 

Hilti and Trimble had in a 2010 agreement, formed a joint venture called Intelligent Construction Tools LLC. The joint venture contributed cash and technology, licensed patents and other intellectual property from their portfolios for use in joint venture products. The proprietary technologies were for use in supporting their joint product development and commercialization efforts.

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