How Contractors Are Using Technology on the Job Site
Interview with Stephen Matson, Senior Product Manager of Milwaukee Tool
Build Houston (BH): Stephen, we’re so glad you are answering our technology questions! Would you please tell us a little about your company?
Stephen Matson: Since the company began in 1924, Milwaukee Tool has led the industry in both durability and performance by providing the best in professional heavy-duty tools and accessories. With an unwavering commitment to the trades, Milwaukee continues to lead with a focus on providing innovative, trade-specific solutions. Whether it is through their leadership in LITHIUM-ION technology, as seen in the M12™, M18™ & M28™ Systems, time-saving accessories or innovative hand tool products, Milwaukee is dedicated to delivering a steady stream of advanced solutions for the trades that offer increased productivity and unmatched durability.
BH: How has recent technology (i.e. mobile apps, tablets, drones, etc.) changed the way you do business on the job site?
Matson: The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is a common part of the world, making almost everything in our lives, from homes to cars, “smart.” Consumers now have virtual, interactive, and instantaneous experiences daily – shaping their buying behaviors and decisions. Now, more than ever, professionals in both the commercial and residential spaces are feeling the impact that IoT and other technologies have had on their businesses, and this has fueled a need for improved consistency and efficiency in order to compete for the job.
BH: What types of new technology driven tools/processes are you using on the job site?
Matson: Milwaukee Tool’s One-Key™ mobile application is the first digital platform for tools and equipment. Built on the principles of Customize, Track, and Manage, One-Key™ combines tool and software technology to develop a management solution that provides a better way for work to get done for any sized company. This technology can fundamentally change the way users interact with their tools and help solve user problems the industry has never before been able to address.
BH: Why did you implement the new technology driven process/tool?
Matson: No other app provides the level of tool interaction that One-Key™ does. Completely free to users, it offers a robust array of features that have an immediate impact on productivity, and can also help the overall bottom line for companies:
BH: What are some benefits and features of the One-Key™ app?
Matson: The Simplified Tool and Equipment Management functionality allows users to create a central place to manage all of their tools and equipment across their network of jobs and operators. This system lets companies keep detailed records of each tool, so they can easily build a budget, track receipts and manage their annual spend on equipment. As a cloud-based solution, managers can easily access and share information in real-time throughout all levels of their organization. Putting information where it can be easily accessed allows users to keep a pulse on the location of their tools and equipment at all times.
An array of M18 FUEL™ drilling and driving solutions can sync wirelessly to the One-Key™ application. Through the Tool Customization functionality of the app, users have the ability to customize their tools with chosen torque and speed settings for a specific application. The app also offers a large variety of presets users can choose from.
Integrated Tool Tracking allows users to identify where and when their One-Key™ compatible tools were last seen. Tool records and locations are updated when any device with the app comes within 100 feet of a One-Key™ compatible tool, allowing the user to pinpoint missing tools quicker. There is no other technology in the industry like this.
Integrated Tool Security gives users comprehensive security features, allowing users to lock and unlock their tools, limit access to their tools, and completely customize settings. Once Tool Security is enabled and the tool is locked it will be rendered useless when stolen – the ultimate theft deterrent!
BH: Would you please share with us a specific story of how the use of technology on the job site has helped your project or company?
Matson: We have received great feedback from users using the Tool Customization function of this app. This is all about setting up your tool to work with you, rather than having to work around your tool. The ability to wirelessly sync with drills and impacts to program custom speed and torque settings directly into the tool’s memory provides huge productivity savings, especially electricians. If you think about the number of torque-sensitive installations on the typical job site, from rough to finish and multiply that at the scale of a commercial project, there is an opportunity to save time and eliminate rework with every trigger pull. Having that confidence with every trigger pull is empowering, and speeds up every phase of construction while reducing consumable costs.
The Simplified Tool & Equipment Management functionality has been hugely successful for companies of all sizes. Completely free and easy-to-use, this app feature frees them up from having to use cumbersome excel documents and/or folders, or investing in expensive inventory software.
Many companies have noted the incredible benefits of Integrated Tool Tracking, and numerous instances have been reported of companies being able to recover large investments of stolen or lost tools.
BH: Are you eyeing any leading-edge technology that you may consider implementing on the job site in the near future?
Matson: We’re just beginning to tap into the potential of our One-Key™ technology. From here, the sky is the limit. This is just the start. We truly believe One-Key™ is just the beginning for users to access information they’ve never experienced before. One-Key™’s capabilities will lead to more efficient work, better performance, and consistently accurate results. And, as the program’s capabilities evolve, we’ll be able to deliver more features to a user’s product well after they’ve already purchased it.