My workers beat the heck out of the tools, which I sort of understand since we are always pushing to get things done... Just wonder how you get them to pay more respect. Tools get used up, I understand, but there is a line between normal use and abuse which gets crossed. How do you deal with this problem?
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor J:
What sorts of tools are you having issues with? My production shop experience was as a patternmaker rather than cabinetmaker, so there are bound to be differences in your situation. Anyhow, my experience has been that employees buy and care for durable personal tools that are frequently used, storing them in a personal toolbox much like an auto mechanic does, and the cost of obtaining them made it worth taking care of them. In the pattern shop everyone had a drill or two, trammel points, an adjustable square, protractor, calculator, hammer, chisels, rulers, dividers, calipers, etc. Some guys sprung for their own nail guns or pneumatic sanders so they didn't have to compete for the beat-up shop-owned tools. The shop provided the more expensive and specialized power tools, plus saw blades, router bits, cutoff wheels and such.
Each assembly bench has an identical color-coded set of tools. Specialty tools are maintained in one location and are required to be put back there as soon as possible. All tool boards at the benches are identical. Every few years, we make new back-benches and tool boards to keep up with changing tools and processes. This process has reduced wasted time and theft. We still lose tools to theft, just not as many as before. Every new tool is inscribed with its location (bench number), date, company logo, and color-coded.
I keep a spreadsheet for all tools, date, cost, location, additional or replacement, model number, serial number, and disposal date/reason/method. It’s not a perfect solution - takes some time to administer - but I think worth it. There is nothing worse than an employee spending time looking for a tool. Damaged tools are turned in to the shop foreman, also a note if there is a missing tool. All tools go back on the boards at the end of the day so you can easily tell right away if there is anything missing.
The same practice is used for adjustment tools and the like at the stationary tools, and also includes a manual in a three-ring binder. I think it takes less time to maintain this system than was wasted in the past without it! If you lose 10 minutes/day/employee looking for tools, that’s an hour of production time per week/employee. $60 worth of production time, $30 in direct labor costs X 50 weeks = $3,000 or $1500/employee/year. I can afford a lot of bench tools for that!