Back in 1946, Nickolas Savko and his wife Gilda started their business in Columbus, Ohio, with a single pickup truck and a few employees. Nearly 70 years later, Savko is now one of the largest site development contractors in the U.S., with roughly 300 employees and more than 600 pieces of heavy equipment, trucks, and tools.
STAYING OUT FRONT
Savko takes pride in its ability to compete against much larger contractors by focusing on superior service and keeping overhead costs low. Its owners and managers understand the value of investing in technology and equipment that can keep operations productive and efficient. As part of that ongoing focus, Savko recently built a spacious new 40,000-square-foot terminal/garage where 12 full-time mechanics maintain its fleet and tools.
With its new, modern facility complete, it was time to take a look at one system that was still outdated: its system for managing parts, supplies, and tools.
Like many long-time maintenance organizations, Savko’s facility had several types of cabinets and closets filled with boxes of parts, cans, paints, and tools. Although supplies started out organized, they often didn’t stay that way for long, so mechanics weren’t sure where to look for supplies. Or someone would open a case of brake cleaner and hoard two or three cans at his work bay, leading to “ghost inventory” (supplies that are purchased and are now unaccountable).
Fleet manager Charlie Wolf simply had no reliable way to know when supplies were about to run out.
“I’d put a case of supplies in the cabinet and a day later it was gone,” says Wolf. “We’d be out of what guys needed and find ourselves behind the eight ball. There was a lot of confusion and lost time.”
Featured Image: All supply and tool usage is recorded in Trajectory Cloud, providing full visibility of who’s using what, when, and on what jobs.
Above: Fleet manager Charlie Wolf selected the Axcess 6027 to control supply and tool usage, as well as eliminate hoarding and stock-outs.
TIME FOR AN UPDATE
Wolf knew Savko had a big opportunity to improve the system. He had previously tested another automated dispensing solution, but didn’t like that it restricted whose supplies they could stock. When he saw an ad for Apex, he knew it could be the answer. So he took the idea to vice president Marty Savko, Sr., who quickly saw that it made sense for their situation.
Soon, Savko had implemented three Apex Axcess™ 6027 automated lockers to dispense dozens of everyday supplies and manage critical tools, such as saws and grinders. They installed the lockers close to the work bays, so mechanics spend less time walking back and forth. And with clear doors and well-lit compartments, there’s no confusion about where to find the supplies they needed.
To use, the mechanics simply enter their unique PIN code and the supply number, and the right compartment door opens. The transaction is recorded in Trajectory Cloud™, giving Wolf full visibility into who’s using what, when, and where. With this added level of accountability, mechanics don’t load up their bays with hoarded supplies, and Wolf knows exactly how much inventory is available.
THE END OF STOCK-OUTS AND RUSH ORDERS
Wolf also likes that he can set maximum and minimum quantity levels for each item and receive an email or text alert when it’s time to reorder. This eliminates virtually all stock-outs; Savko’s mechanics don’t lose time waiting for parts to come in—and saves on expensive rush orders, as well.
Every Friday, Wolf gets an email report that shows him that week’s usage of every part and supply. It’s easy to spot if something’s “off,” and he can look into it before the problem gets out of hand.
Savko now also has a better system for managing mission-critical tools such as saws and grinders.
Previously, when a mechanic was in a hurry he might return a tool to the wrong cabinet (or forget to bring it back at all.) Now tools are checked-out of the lockers, then checked-in when the job’s complete. Wolf can even receive notifications if an item isn’t returned on time. Everyone knows they’re accountable for the tools they take, so they’re quick to return them when they’re done.
Almost a year after the installation, Wolf is impressed with the new level of organization, efficiency, and productivity in Savko’s maintenance facility. “With the Apex system, it’s easier to focus on the work and get things done. Everything’s there, everybody knows where to go for what they need, and they know what they’ve got to do,” he says. ■
For More Information: To learn more about the full line of automated dispensing solutions from Apex Supply Chain Technologies, call 800.229.7912, or visit www.apexsupplychain.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, September 2015
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