One of the biggest frustrations for a company is to buy the same tools over and over again, and the single biggest complaint for most workers is to waste time looking for the right tool for the right job. Here are four ways to keep tools where they belong, in your inventory and in the hands of your team:
Take a formal inventory of your tools. Often. Some companies do it at the start of every job. They assign a person (usually an intern) with a list of tools the team starts with and everyone checks the tools in and out daily. On the positive side, the intern gets to know your team and learn which tools go with which jobs. If a tool goes missing, you have a record of who checked it out and where they were working. On the downside, going through a check-in/check-out every, single day gets tiresome and can create unnecessary bottlenecks.
Mark your tools. This is especially important if you’re working with a variety of other contractors. It’s easy to pick up a generic-looking screw gun or hammer, use it and then pack it up with your equipment at the end of a job. One company stencils every tool they buy with their company’s logo. In bright, neon pink. Even from a distance, you know who that reciprocating saw belongs to. There’s no mistaking it. A less extreme method might be to invest in some odd-colored electrical tape and tape the handles of your tools. That way, you’ll know which ones are yours at the end of the day.
Have a place for everything on the job site. If it’s a big job and you’re going to be there for a while, make a storage system that you can live with. If there’s a place for everything, you’ll know when everything is in its place. You’ll also see an empty spot immediately, and you’ll know what to look for.
Spend the last hour of the day cleaning up. Put everything away, even the equipment you know you’re going to need tomorrow, in that exact spot. Plans change, people call in sick, the site isn’t accessible – there are all kinds of reasons why tomorrow may need you to change things up. Put everything away, every day and your team will find the right tool for the job without having to search the jobsite.