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tool control

Old 11-01-07, 11:55 AM
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tool control

How do i stop tools from walking out of the shop? I'm spending quite a bit of $ replacing missing tools. There are multiple people that work @ the same bench. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 11-01-07, 12:00 PM
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engrave your shop/personal phone number on them?
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Originally Posted by colorider View Post
Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 11-01-07, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by nik0703 View Post
How do i stop tools from walking out of the shop? I'm spending quite a bit of $ replacing missing tools. There are multiple people that work @ the same bench. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Have them use their own tools and own locking tool boxes.
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Old 11-01-07, 12:02 PM
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If they're your own personal tools engrave your name or initials. If they're the shop tools do what jsharr recommended. The idea is to mark them to be identified easily.
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Old 11-01-07, 12:04 PM
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I still cant see where they are going tho. So some one will have a tool set with our shop name and ph #.
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Old 11-01-07, 12:05 PM
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keep people out of your shop
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Old 11-01-07, 12:09 PM
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Here's a technique I use at work (I work in a factory) that's called "Shadow Boxing". Get two pieces of foam rubber (helps if they're different colors), cut to the size of your tool box drawers. Lay the tools on the first piece and outline them with a marker. Then cut out the shapes so that you have a piece of foam that has cut-outs for all your tools. Lay the un-cut piece of foam in, then put the cut foam over it, then put your tools in the foam. When you remove a tool you can see the empty hole from which it came. You can label everything with a label maker, and even used colored electrical tape to indicate which tool goes where (tools with the green stripe go in the drawer with the green stripe, etc). You can do the same on peg board. Paint a shape of the tool behind its peg board location and when a tool is missing you can see the empty shape.

Then, at the end of the shift, just open every drawer and look for missing tools. If your mechanics are just kids then hold them and don't let them go home until all the tools are put back (doesn't work so well for adults).


The next step is even fancier and trickier. Give every bike mechanic a different color poker chip. Have them place a chip in the empty tool hole every time they take a tool. Then you know who has the tool. Keep them honest by observing which tool they're using and checking to make sure the proper corresponding chip is in the drawer.

If tool theft is still a problem get rid of drawers and store all tools, in their shadow box, out in the open. Makes keeping an eye on it easier.

Finally, you MUST do this for EVERY tool, and it must be obvious where every tool goes. There can't be a single tool in the shop without it's own home location, duly marked, oultined, painted, or otherwise indicated. Then when you see a tool that's lying out you KNOW it doesn't belong there and you can see where it does belong. It gets awful hard to steal tools in an environment like that.

You gotta be a hard-***** about it. Eventually they'll get used to it then learn to like it (because they always know where to find their tools).

For more information Google the terms "Lean Manufacturing", "5S", "Visual Factory", "Shadow Box".
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Old 11-01-07, 12:18 PM
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If they are marked and it is an employee and he socializes with other employees, then it is going to be harder for the thief to hide them, and harder to sell them to pawn shops, etc. The idea is to make it is tough on the thief as possible.

Another option is to let the shop/service manager keep the shop tools under lock and key and make employees sign out for specialized tools. Common tools would be provided by the individual techs and it is up to them to keep their boxes locked.
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Originally Posted by colorider View Post
Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 11-01-07, 12:20 PM
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Hang every single piece of tool on a pegboard and outline them.
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Old 11-01-07, 12:31 PM
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Marked tools and marked tool locations also give that "the walls have eyes" kind of appearance. Anyone could be watching and waiting to rat you out if you take something. A dedicated theif won't be deterred but a casual theif will.
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Old 11-01-07, 12:49 PM
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oh wait I forgot to mention

fire the *******s and hire some people who respect your authoritay
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Old 11-01-07, 01:38 PM
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An office mate got a power engraver and marked everything "Stolen from [John Doe]". No one wanted to be caught with anything of his...
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Old 11-01-07, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
.....let the shop/service manager keep the shop tools under lock and key and make employees sign out for specialized tools. Common tools would be provided by the individual techs and it is up to them to keep their boxes locked.
We found that's the only way. Make the techs buy their own tools.
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Old 11-01-07, 04:25 PM
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We had a discussion about this at work today, based on this thread, and decided to color code the tool for each mechanic. They sell colored liquid vinyl coating, I guess I'll let you guys know how that works out
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Old 11-01-07, 05:48 PM
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By the way, if your shop is anything like many that I've seen a lot of the "missing" tools may not be stolen. A good clean out can reveal all sorts of stuff you thought got stolen but was really not put back where it should be, kicked under a cabinet, behind something, etc.
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Old 11-01-07, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Bruce_B View Post
Have them use their own tools and own locking tool boxes.
That would be my choice too. I've got a 3 drawer tool box with bicycle tools in it. I marked each tool with yellow electrical tape. I don't take it in to work all of the time but, when it gets busy, I do. It's a lot more efficient than using shared tools because I always know exactly where to find whatever tool I need.
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Old 11-02-07, 05:48 AM
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I used to work as an auto mechanic. We had three guys who worked in the same area. One guy posted a sign on his rollcab that said simply "Touch my tools and I'll kick your a**". One look at the guy, he was a bit scary, and you realized that you had best steer clear of his tools unless you asked permission.
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Old 11-02-07, 05:56 AM
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If you work in a shop with an anti-theft system, put those sitcky things on the handles of the tools they'll fit on. I worked in a retail warehouse, and we did that with all our tools. We didn't have any where near the amount you probably do, but it seemed to work.
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Old 11-02-07, 06:50 AM
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That sucks that someone would take someone else's tools. Kids today, no respect I tells ya.
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Old 11-02-07, 06:56 AM
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This is a HR problem, not a technical issue. FIND OUT who is stealing the tools, if that is actually the case or if they're just not being replaced. Stop lettting multiple people use one bench - you don't have enough for everyone working there?

I find it incredible that your employees would steal the very tools they need to use to work on bikes. That is unless your shop is really some sort of Walmart/Canadian Tire incaranation.
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Old 11-02-07, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by operator View Post
you don't have enough for everyone working there?
I was assuming the "shared tools" were less commonly used ones. Everyone doesn't need their own headset press for example.
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Old 11-02-07, 12:45 PM
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Man, I thought everyone needed their own 1 1/4 tap set!
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Old 11-02-07, 01:44 PM
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My shop has each bench's tools all marked with a separate color of electrical tape (paint would probably work better) and they seem to get back where they are supposed to be. Also, often the missing wrench can often be found where some salesperson put it after borrowing it to tighten something on a customer's bike.
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Old 11-03-07, 08:41 AM
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Tie a huge wooden dowel to each tool, like they do at gas stations when you ask for the bathroom key.
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Old 11-03-07, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by I_bRAD View Post
I was assuming the "shared tools" were less commonly used ones. Everyone doesn't need their own headset press for example.
He said they were sharing benches...
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