Is it just me or does every new guy have more end mills, carbide inserts,
boring bars then I do? Is that guy leaving tomorrow have three guys helping
him out with his box? This has to be the number one 'look the other way'
deed that one can only guess would add to costs over a year. Does anyone
have any ideas on just how to get this phenomenon under control? Do people
ask to look inside the workers box at any time? In our shop no one locks
their boxes and there are no real thieves but tool management is definitely
out of control.
Sounds like time to implement a tool management system, whether that be a
tool crib, a locked room that you have the key too, or a vending machine
Upon check-out of any tool, the machinist would need to assign that tool
to the particular job he is running, along with his clock number or
signature, etc. This helps a) you determine if you have a higher than
expected tool useage job, b) allow you to determine tool costs per job
more accurately, and c) know who checked out what tool for what.
Be kinda hard for a guy to check out a tool not required for the job he's
on, IF someone looks at the reports.
Of course..we are a large corporation, and have a fully staffed tool
crib, but I can tell you to the $0.001 what we have in per piece tooling
costs, by order, day, week, month, usage per time period for any tool,
what tools we use the most of and even what particular machine is using
the most of any particular tool.
This last bit, helps tremendously in highlighting creaping-up machine
problems before they become real problems. Usually the first thing that
happens when a machine has a wear-type mechanical/electrical problem
coming on, is that tool usage starts increasing.
You can't 'idiot proof' anything....every time you try, they just make
When I quit some places, actually most, looked through my box for company
property. I don't believe in collecting stuff that I didn't pay for, so I
never had a problem with them asking. Better yet is to supply employees
with everything they need and get their boxes out of the shop. They are
nothing but a source of trouble. Are employee owned tools any good? The
only way to be sure is to have them calibrated. Why pay to calibrate tools
that you don't own? Then there is the space that the boxes take up. Used to
be the best tool maker could get by with a small Gerstner and a riser. Now
everyone has a roller chest and a tower of boxes. It's a "my dick is bigger
than yours" thing. If you want to reduce set up time and go to a 5S type of
system, those boxes should be history anyway. Most guys are just using them
to collect your tools to help support the fantasy that they will need them
when they start their own shop. With other guys collecting shop owned
tooling in their box is a control thing for them. It gives them a sense of
control when other guys come to them looking for an end mill, drill, or
whatever. Get rid of the boxes and buy some more tools. It's cheaper in the
Many guys came with full drill indexes, and deserve to leave with them.
As noted, tool management is the answer.
The real 'cost' is not when they leave, it is every day. You have 12
6-32 taps that you cannot acces, so a job waits till the morning, 20
bucks in next day shipping later.
I did this myself in a small model shop environment. Cleaned up and
locked up. organized and categorized. guys hated me. for a month. Then
they realized they could get whatever they wanted, just had to ask.
wrote back on Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:56:23 GMT in alt.machines.cnc :
Had a similar case: couldn't find the travel indicators. Kong comes
back from medical leave (he smashed his finger). I'm assigned to be his
fingers. We go to get something from his tool box. There with his tools
were the travel indicators. Seems after he got taken to the hospital,
someone had put all of the tools he'd been using away for him.
as an explaination for the decline in the US's tech edge, James
We have so many boxes of used drills and taps and saws and EMs that it is
easier to get a new one than to stop and look for one that might be in some
box under a bench somewhere. Not worth resharpening drills and small EMs or
saws for the most part. No time to stop and organize what there is never
room for. Sounds like a disaster when I read this back :)
Buy a tool dip pot and several Vidmar or Lista cabinets.....
A little wet-sanding with laquer thinner and a rattle can paintjob and your
in like Flynn.......
: We are supplied with a certain amount of necessary tools when we
: disk grinder is worth about $1000 and my die grinder is worth
: We're also given a set of hex keys, a tape measure, a rolling box,
: to be returned when we leave)
Just like the way they give crayons and scissors to kindergarteners?
Do you have to bring a napmat or one of your dad's old shirts for a
Everywhere I've ever worked, this is cause for instant dismissal.
We hired a young man in December. Tools started to disappear shortly
after he started, so did the money from the coffee cup fund.
After hunting for a tool for a half hour, you'd say "Jeez there was an
X right here yesterday and now I can't find it."
The next day it was right there. Just like it had been there all
He'd poke his head in the office and wish everyone a very cheerful
good bye then go back into the shop and leave through the front door
on the other side of the office.
One day last month my dear wife had had enough of it and she bustled
outside and was standing there just as he came bursting out the front
door - looking very furtively over his shoulder to see if anyone was
watching him. He was holding a cardboard box in front of him, using
his body to shield the box from anyone who might be watching him. Of
course he ran straight into her.
"What's in the box Timothy?"
"Oh, nothing. Umm. Just some scrap."
"Did you ask if you could take some scrap home Timothy?"
"It's OK, I'll put it back." And he started to head back into the
"Open the box Timothy."
"No, it's OK, I'll get it tomorrow."
Loudly: "OPEN THE BOX TIMOTHY."
The box contained dozens of taps, drills and reamers. Most of them
were used, though there were some new tools in there also, but the
replacement cost of this stuff has got to be over $1,000.00.
He left saying that he'd be back the next day for his check.
I wasn't there when this happened but I was there when he came for his
check the next day. I confronted him about the theft and of course he
took an attitude of righteous indignation.
Made me want to strangle the little bastard.
We didn't call the cops and I don't know if that was the right thing
to do. My wife did have enough presence of mind to call two people
over as witnesses to the whole thing.
One thought I have that should work in most any sized shop is to have a
legitimate way for the employees (and the public if the volume is big
enough) to purchase surplus / used tools and tooling.
In a small company it might be just a box in the corner of the break
room with used end mills and whatnot and a coffee can to collect $0.10
ea towards the company holiday party. Larger companies can have a full
One thing that will drive even the most honest employee nuts is to see
perfectly usable tools/equipment/tooling thrown in the dumpster. It is a
waste, not environmentally friendly and simply repulsive to those who
realize the usefull life left in the items.
I missed the staff meeting but the minutes show "Pete C."
Yes, no, there is the problem of workers saying "this is scrap" and
then buying it from the surplus bin. But ... it is a waste.
Those "perfectly good tools" are no longer cost effective for the
company, but for the small shop ...
Have a friend who works for Gerber sharpening knives. He "tosses" as
worn out, sanding belts which he knows his friends in the home knife making
field could get months of use from.
My gripe are the locked dumpsters which you can't salvage from. (I
know why they are locked, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.)
as an explaination for the decline in the US's tech edge, James
Middle dropping but wanted to relay a story that I believe was in the
"in search of excellence books. Don't know if it's true or not but it
hammer home the point above.
Large tire manufacturer let employees either purchase or take home
cosmetic "blems", figuring it was a benefit for employees and reduced
their need to re-grind/scrap. Reject rate was quite high (figures given
I believe were around 10% IIRC).
New CEO came in and reject rate was appalling. CEO went to shop with
tire ripper knife and began ripping cosmetic blems instead of letting
employees take them. Almost immediately the reject rate dropped
With regards to tools, most of the maintenance shops I deal with require
the employees to supply all their own hand tools. If it gets broken on
the job, it gets replaced by the company with an equivalent (and they
have to turn in the broken tool). Doesn't work well with tooling items
(they use a tool crib check-out system for those things) but most
disappearing tools that were previously seen were the stuff like
wrenches that could be used in a home shop. Guys also tend to keep
better track of their tools as they are required to supply the broken
item to get it replaced.
Tool crib or some sort of monitoring is needed.
Also, setup a tool account thru the company. We have a tool account of a
minimum $100 purchase up to $500 with a $50 per week deduction from their
payroll. If they leave before that for whatever reason the remainder is
deducted before they're last check.
Consumables should be supplied through the company. It makes it easier for
the company to control quality and in the event that some consumable is
need that the shop doesnt stock or cannot find quickly then by all means
reimburse the employee that might that oddball carbide tool etc.
Someone suggested gitting rid of the roll-arounds and such and that might
work in a certain type of shop but that type of practise is not for every
shop. It might be something to investigate but in my trade and our size
shop it would not and would be a detriment to operations.
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