Please note, the order volume has been updated. This is due to package and minimum order quantities.
Please note, the order volume has been updated to. This is due to package and minimum order quantities.
Reducing your tool park to increase productivity feels like a counterintuitive concept - after all, surely if you have more tools available, workers will never find themselves without the appropriate tools to do the job?
While this appears to be a logical stance, construction businesses with large tool parks are often far less efficient then those who have a leaner, well-managed stock. Large tool parks can lead to increased waste, downtime, and cost, having the opposite effect on construction site productivity than intended.
The idea of doing more with less in business is linked to ‘lean thinking’ - a methodology focused on improving organisation and value through the elimination of waste. Since the term was coined in 1996 from the researchers James P. Womack’s and Daniel T. Jones’ study of the famous Toyota supply chain, the concept of ‘lean’ has evolved across several different approaches to improving business processes.
Across these different variations, lean thinking approaches tend to follow seven core principles:
To achieve a truly ‘lean’ business in the strictest sense of the term, these principles need to be followed and applied across operations. If this is something you are hoping to achieve, it can’t be done overnight - lean working requires a long-term cultural change, which takes considerable time and investment to achieve. However, the benefits of lean working can have a significant impact on growth and profit on the bottom line.
In terms of construction site optimisation, some of these principles can also help us think about how to increase efficiency through reorganising processes and reducing excess assets.
There are a number of issues associated with having an overstock of assets in your tool park.
Firstly, a large number of tools requires more time and money invested in maintenance, with larger stocks having to be managed more carefully. If you have a number of the same item, it’s likely that certain tools are rarely being used. From a lean thinking standpoint, overstock is considered to be waste - as there is little return on investment for you or your customers.
When considering waste, it’s important to differentiate between a large tool park that has accumulated over time and one that has been created through a company investing considerable upfront capital. For the latter, when investing in new tools, it’s important to consider the value you are getting from each asset in terms of the frequency of use.
For tool parks that have been built up over time, overstock often occurs when new tools are added, and existing assets are not removed from the stock. Having duplicates can cause problems with keeping track of what needs to be repaired and when, increasing the investment needed in maintenance. If a company is using a manual asset management system, such as an Excel spreadsheet, this may be particularly difficult to track.
By not having a clear picture of the condition of tools, workers often end up equipped with inefficient tools in need of maintenance, reducing productivity and increasing downtime - as well as the risk of accidents.
Through reducing the amount of tools in your tool park, you can increase construction site productivity in a number of ways. For workers, having a reduced selection of tools allows easier access to the specific equipment they need for the job, with less time spent searching through old or faulty tools.
In terms of expense, a reduced tool park also cuts down cost and time spent on procurement, maintenance and repair, reducing overspend and staff hours spent checking stock. It also allows for tool parks to be organised in a more efficient way - by construction teams, for example - creating increased time and financial savings.
From an administrative standpoint, a reduced tool park makes the auditing process shorter and more efficient, while also allowing for quicker decision-making in terms of procurement and tool rentals.
A leaner tool park improves efficiency through better organisation, helping to reduce time and financial investment, as well as the stress associated with managing a large, dispersed stock of assets across your business.
At Hilti, our productivity experts have helped thousands of Hilti customers to streamline their tool parks and optimise the way their assets are managed. By identifying the areas of waste in your business, and the hidden costs throughout your tool park, we can help you to make changes that will improve productivity while reducing your costs.
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