Keep it Running: Tools and Company Culture

By George Allman on 29 May, 2019


One way that a company like Liberty ensures an efficient and well-equipped workforce is by making sure the tools that employees use on a daily basis are current, calibrated, and functioning. The proper maintenance and organization of all tooling is a key element in a workforce that is confident, safe, and well-equipped.

Each tool on the production floor is catalogued and under the care of a tool crib attendant. This attendant keeps track of who uses each tool, issues tools to employees who need them for a specific job, and ensures that tools are properly maintained and calibrated.

Each tool or machine is marked with a serial number, and is issued to certain employees for specific jobs before being returned to the tool crib attendant once the job is completed. This minimizes confusion on the production floor (personnel only have the resources they need, nothing missing or superfluous), while also minimizing the risk of injury or damage due to the use of the wrong tool. For example, if the building instructions for an assembly calls for the use of a certain size of screwdriver, and an employee were to use the wrong size or type of screwdriver; the screw could be stripped, or the assembly damaged, or the employee injured in some way because they did not use the adequate tool. By closely regulating and cataloguing each tool, these opportunities for error are greatly reduced.

All tools also have an “expiration date:” a specified time when they are to be re-inspected and calibrated. Having each item numbered aids in this process as well: the attendant can keep track of every item and know what needs to be serviced when. Because each tool has been issued to specific employees for specific jobs, the attendant has a record for exactly how and when the tool has been used, which creates a pedigree of tooling: a work history of each item.

Without properly organizing and maintaining the company’s roster of tools, there would be the potential for an employee to use an improper tool, either damaging materials or injuring themself. By contrast, a very specialized system of organizing tools allows employees to not only be current with their specialized training, but for the tools they use to be serviced and calibrated as well.

Properly cataloging and maintaining tools reduces confusion, ensures that all items are up to code, and confirms that the intended tools for the job are being used by the qualified people for the job. This contributes to a company culture in which employees feel equipped, confident, taken care of, and ready for any challenge.

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Topics: Company Culture

Author: George Allman

George Allman is a Manufacturing Engineering Supervisor that has been with Liberty for 21 years. He works primarily in process and fixture development within Liberty’s Mil/Aero Business unit, and also helps to support new business growth and development in various capacities. He is a member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, serves as an advisor/mentor to local STEM student groups, and is a frequent speaker and contributor at various events within the Additive Manufacturing community.
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