It is not uncommon for misplaced or lost tools to end up costing construction companies thousands of dollars annually. Recent statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau show jobsite theft costs the industry upwards of $1 billion a year.

Protecting such valuable assets doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, putting your tools in the cloud–or at least the management of your tools–can prove very efficient and cost efficient in the long run.

Take technology from ToolWatch, www.toolwatch.com, Englewood, Colo., for example. It offers a Web-based platform that resides in the cloud and is accessible to authorized users on an as-needed basis. The company has been offering such functionality in the cloud since 2007.

As Don Kafka, CEO of ToolWatch, says, managing tools in the cloud becomes very cost-effective due to the minimal support and high level of security that can be offered through such a model.

The application will store tool and equipment data in the cloud and as a contractor updates data from their desktop application, such information becomes synched up with that stored in the cloud right away. Authorized users within the client’s company can log in and access realtime data, updates, and information from anywhere in the world.

Tool management in the cloud has a green appeal to it as well, allowing contractors to reduce the support needed for managing data, not to mention the amount of money saved by not having to replace tools that go missing.

Companies like ToolWatch also allow tool management from a connected device like a tablet, or even a smartphone. This helps by allowing tool management to occur out in the field and reduce the amount of time contractors spend driving back and forth to confirm data.

Other providers like ToolHound, www.toolhound.com, St. Albert, Alta., offers similar functionality. For instance, its ToolHound Mobile product uses an integrated barcode or RFID reader in order to help contractors collect and send data related to tools on-the-go. Such a product works in conjunction with Web-based tool management applications from the company that offer the ability to manage these key assets without the overhead of building and maintaining in-house databases.

Think about the money you spend on tools annually. Now think about what you spend on replacing those tools on an ongoing basis. A little investment in technology today could reduce your long-term costs associated with this task.