An old solution for managing tasks has had a modern makeover. Construction Plant News investigates the simple and practical solution that is T Cards.
In the modern world there has developed a reflex action of adopting the hi tech, high cost solution as a default position, where simplicity, and ease of use would often be better served as the guiding principle. A process that can be implemented with minimal effort or disruption and can manage tasks, resources and assets in a straightforward, down-to-earth package, seems like a proposition from a bygone age – but that’s not necessarily the case.
There is a solution that fits that very description – and one that many hirers may have been previously familiar with. T Cards Direct has manufactured it’s visual planning system for over 50 years, and has proven to be a product that still works today, not as a replacement for the more sophisticated software based machine management and telematics system but as a complementary process.
Depsite that pedigree, that’s not to say that this highly visual solution is standing still because, over the last eight years, the concept has been developed to include an online version. “Rather than look at it from a software perspective, just as with the manual version, our focus has been on developing a simple and practical communication tool,” explains the company’s Managing Director, Philip Heine, “and these benefits are noted more especially when margins are being squeezed and profits are under pressure. With the latest version mobile engineers can update the system when they service or repair plant, which will then automatically update the visual display back at the office.”
In essence, T Cards are based on a minimalist approach, which means that relevant information is immediately visible, and neither field operatives or office-based personnel will need to search a system for the evidence they need, visually communicating what stage jobs are at in real time. Using a drag-and-drop technique, job cards can then be moved around the board to reflect current status.
Since its original launch in 2011, T Cards Online has been continually developed and enhanced, and today it can also be accessed via an app and like, its manual counterpart, can be purpose built to reflect what information a company needs to convey to users across the organisation. The traditional T Board and Card continues to appeal as a physical and tangible solution, whilst its online sibling allows the concept to go mobile, and both versions can co-exist. “We have clients that use both for different applications,” continues Philip. “A manual board might be used to keep track of maintenance at the workshop, whilst an online version can keep track of installers or engineers on the road.”
Indeed, T Cards prides itself on being customer driven, with all subsequent developments informed and motivated by how its clients are already using the system, and what they need it to do. As a result functions like activity logs have been added which can then be exported for the purposes of reporting. Adds Philip: “Although the front end remains simple, there is a deceptive amount of functionality, whilst T Cards Online has been built to be intuitive so that users can adapt it to their requirements. There’s minimal time and effort required in its adoption, and very little training is required. Flexibility is, in fact, a feature of the entire process. The web-based product is available on a subscription basis, for instance, which means that customers can trial it on a month by month footing until they are sure it’s a fit for their business.”
There are thousands of case studies showing how companies and organisations can make large savings by utilising simple management tools like T Cards. Many of the applications have evolved from lean manufacturing techniques, Six Sigma and Kaizen 5S, although there are many other production and health and safety applications.
T Cards Online Brings Big Benefits For Hiab Plant
A great example of where T Cards Online is making a difference is at Northallerton based Hiab (previously Londonderry Garage) a leading supplier of truck mounted cranes, Multi-lift demountable equipment and other associated services.
Customer Satisfaction is Key
Hiab serves both the public and private sectors across the North of England, employs around 50 people and specialises serving the commercial vehicle needs of operators working in the burgeoning waste recycling sector.
Like many plant industry operators Hiab appreciated the T Cards manual board system for many years, helping them to monitor and manage the status of orders and projects within their hire department and workshop facility. However, as Hiab’s Service and Installation Manager, Andrew Smith comments: “We needed a system which matched our needs to enable multiple users at different locations off-site to be able to view the status of orders. Only a web-based, PC operated system would meet these requirements and we were confident that T Cards could provide a solution that matched our needs, hence our choice”
Andrew continued: “We switched to the new system just over a year ago, initially using both the manual board and online systems. However, after only a few weeks we were happy to switch entirely across to the online system. We are delighted with the results, at the click of a button our staff at different locations can access all the information they need and this gives us better control and helps with individual accountability.”
Phil Heine concludes: “We have helped a wide range of companies explore the benefits of our simple, yet highly effective online management tool. The result is streamlined, more efficient management processes, which ultimately leads to improved productivity, saving time and money.”