This month, Snips makes its annual roundup of the latest and greatest in computer software for the hvac and sheet metal shop.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - QuickPen International recently launched Tool Manager 5.0, the first Internet-enabled tool & equipment management software. Now QuickPen announces the release of Tool Manager 5.0.3, the latest update to this comprehensive tool tracking system.

Many companies are already using the Internet to stay connected; with the Wide Area Network capabilities of Tool Manager, they can use the Internet to keep track of their tools & equipment at the central tool crib, satellite tool cribs, branch locations, job sites, and with individual project managers or foremen.

"No other tool management solution on the market offers the true Internet capabilities of Tool Manager 5.0," said Leon Harris, Tool Manager Product Manager. "With its client/server database, multi-tiered application and Wide Area Network-enabled architecture, Tool Manager provides tool and equipment managers far more control over their inventory - whether in their own warehouse or across the country - than ever before."

Harris said the 5.0 version can be accessed with a laptop computer at a job site and information transferred via the Internet. He added that the added versatility of the newest software makes it available to a wider range of contractors, since "everyone does it (tool tracking) differently."

Tool Manager's new 32-bit system reproduces the functionality of Tool Manager 4.0 while adding more than 30 new features and enhancements. Its LAN, WAN, and Internet enablement, coupled with flexible, robust user security, allows remote users access to all or only selected parts of the core database, enabling more complete, up-to-the-minute tracking of tools and equipment at numerous locations. Tool Manager 5.0 introduces a true client/server database to tool management for optimum data integrity.

"When we set out to develop a new Tool Manager, we didn't want to just upgrade our old software," said QuickPen's Wayne Patterson. "We assessed the needs of our clients, looked for the best available technology to meet those needs, and then created a new product from the ground up based on those technologies."

The release of Tool Manager 5.0.3 introduces several key enhancements to the original product. The Tool Cart, a temporary holding area for inventory items, makes the check-in, check-out, and transfer of tools easier and faster. The new Multiple Tool Copy feature, coupled with the new Tool ID and Secondary Tool ID Auto Increment option, simplifies the data entry for large numbers of similar tools. And the newly-added ability to create "Hot Keys" for menu functions allows users to customize Tool Manager to make data entry and tool transfer much faster.

Jason Sears, tool department manager for Air Systems, San Jose, Calif., said he likes a new feature that allows him to add tools easily, without having to scroll down through literally thousands of items. "You never have to leave the inventory screen," he adds.

Not only do fewer tools go missing, but they are more accurately allocated to the appropriate job. Some small tools, like a hammer or crescent wrench, are considered "consumables" and billed to a particular job on a one-time-only basis, while others such as hoists, ladders and plasma cutters are tracked according to their use on a particular job and billed accordingly.

Air Systems, a large company with several hundred employees, does plumbing and electrical work along with hvac, making accurate tool management essential.

For more information about Tool Manager, visit