One concept I have been advocating of late is machine-owned tools, or community ownership of the specific tools required for machinery and equipment. There are many ways to manage this type of program, but the most effective means I have found is a shadow board.
One concept I have been advocating of late is machine-owned tools, or community ownership of the specific tools required for machinery and equipment. There are many ways to manage this type of program, but the most effective means I have found is a shadow board. A shadow board is any type of board featuring the outline of tools. This outline clearly conveys the proper location for specific tools, including tools that are not there.
Although a shadow board concept is very effective, anything that promotes community sharing of tools will likely be met with resistance. This is because the concept is very different for people who are used to having their own tools, stored “uniquely” in their own tool boxes.
I have found machine-owned tooling offers numerous advantages, including the following.
The most common argument against machine-owned tooling is, “The other guy doesn’t put tools back where they belong, so it will never work!” It’s interesting how many good ideas never get implemented because of the behavior of this elusive “other guy.” Hoarding tools in personal toolboxes to ensure that they are available is expensive and ultimately is an inconvenience for everyone.
I recently worked with a company whose machine operators hoarded boring bars in their toolboxes. After some persuading, the operators returned most of the boring bars to a centrally managed area. In reviewing the collection, we found a multi-year supply of some boring bars and others so special that they would never again be used by this company.
The key to an effective machine-owned tooling system is convenience. The system must make it easier to put tools in their designated locations than not to do so. If it is easier for operators to lay the tools on a table or in some other general location, then that is what will happen. Therefore, we must come up with creative ways to ensure that tools are put in their proper locations.
One company I know of has made a conscious effort to do away with horizontal surfaces because they were viewed as a catch-all, promoting disorganization. Work benches have been removed in favor of free-standing boards containing only what the operators have identified as necessary for doing their jobs. Even window sills have been modified with plywood to create angled surfaces that cannot be used as interim storage areas.
Once people recognize the simplicity of a machine-owned tooling system and experience how easy it is to work with, they, too, will become advocates.blog comments powered by Disqus