Tool Management, Part 1

March 20, 2003

By carefully thinking about what crews will need and when, you can avoid duplication of tool purchases, reduce tool loss and “ratholing” or hoarding of tools. This happens when workers hide tools from others so that they will have the tool they need when they need it.

An environment where tools are purposely hidden can poison a company’s sense of teamwork and must be addressed immediately. That worker wandering the job site looking for a tool is not installing materials and is costing the project money. Just as importantly, that worker is frustrated and blaming management for their failure to properly equip him or her.

When allocating tools to a construction project, try to allocate tools by work crew, not to the overall job. Each crew should have all of the tools they will need to complete the work they will be doing that day. Discourage hoarding of tools with proper planning and by directly addressing the issue with foremen and workers when needed.

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