Every business is different, but each business has tools that need to function effectively to keep your product line up and running. Whether you’re building from wood, forming fiberglass, or welding metal, the tools in your business need to be thoughtfully purchased, carefully maintained, and skillfully used to protect this crucial investment.
Repairs are expensive. If you can set up a calendar that allows you to check out your business tools before they need to be repaired, you will save yourself a lot of emergency stress and downtime.
For example, you may need a drying booth to finish your products before they go out the door. If you’re working with wood, you may need a full shop vacuum to keep dust to a minimum. Regular checks of your:
- blower motors
- exhaust filters
- intake vents and filters
can keep this booth up and running safely for everyone in your shop. Depending on the items you’re sending out the door, maintenance tools from a high-intensity vacuum to a grease gun kit can keep your machinery and product line running.
In addition to a maintenance schedule, dedicated storage can protect both your inventory stock and your tools. If you’re a woodworker, careful storage of all of your chisels will protect them both from rust and from chip damage. A chisel sharp enough to cut wood can put a pretty good ding in the edge of another chisel.
Dedicated storage can help any business. Make sure that all of your employees know where the basic storage cabinets are for the products they will need. Set up a notification system to give your procurement team a heads-up when supplies get low.
If your team needs to read the back of chemical containers, either of cleaning products, lubricants, or solvents, keep a magnifying glass in the storage cupboard of these cabinets. Even with the best lighting, the fine print on some of these containers can be incredibly frustrating. Providing a magnifying glass in the cabinet, or investing in a neck lanyard with a craft magnifier, can make life easier for older employees.
While increasing the visibility of different consumable products in your facility, make sure to be extremely specific about storage. Lubricants need to live in one space, solvents in another, and cleaning products in another. It can be easy to rely on the color of a label or a typestyle, but one design change can put your employees, tools, and facility at risk. Do make sure to post Material Safety Data Sheets in your storage cabinets for all products.
Make sure the lighting in your workspaces and storage cabinets is high quality. This may mean a regular bulb check on all machinery that incorporates its own lighting. For some employees, it may mean providing a rechargeable headlamp that they can use in tight corners.
If your storage cabinets are accessed by multiple users, consider adding a motion sensor to make sure that all the lights are turned off when the room is empty. This is a particularly helpful choice if you’ve added under cabinet lighting to the bottoms of shelves.
If your shop machinery has to meet industry standards, you will need some calibration tools to test tolerances before you start a production run. Depending on your industry and your location, you may have a local testing lab that either comes in to run a tool audit or allows you to drop off tools for testing.
Again, maintenance is much cheaper than repairs. If part of your product line is formed metal, you may need to produce data on thickness tests far out on the metal skin. The tools that can test this thickness are quite delicate and may require yearly testing to confirm their accuracy.
Every business obviously has its own tool needs. Keeping things clean, from solvents to vacuums to anti-virus software, will reduce disruptions and save money by ensuring the smoothness of operations. When things break down, your employees are facing stress and downtime. Regular maintenance of your existing tool stock can help you plan for expansion. Broken tools break your budget as well as your schedule.