Managing Technicians and Their Tool Needs
Part 2 of a 4-part article on power tool management
The department’s need for power tools covers nearly every technician in every trade shop in the district. Workers in the carpentry shop, for example, use portable saws almost daily.
“Once they get on site, they’re constantly using drills and battery-operated saws,” Borst says. “Our plumbing department is using things like snakes on a daily basis. In the schools that we have, we’ve got plugged toilets and sinks and drains daily, so we’re snaking things on a regular basis. Our grounds department is using power tools, whether it be weed eaters or tools of that sort in the summertime.
“We own a diverse array of tools. For example, the power hand tools that we’re going to issue to our 125 staff members — that includes skill saws to carpenters and a cordless drill to every new employee. That’s almost a universal tool these days.”
The department’s strategy for equipping workers with the right tools for their specific job starts the first day on the job. The process includes a key step in ensuring supervisors can effectively track power tools the department owns.
“When an employee comes to work for us, we ask them to not to intermingle their personal tools because if they do, we can’t maintain a responsibility level for the tools, whether they be damaged or broken in the course of work,” Borst says. “When somebody is hired, we put together a tool list depending on what department they’re in, whether it be hand tools or power tools. Then they sign as having received those tools from us.”
As activities and operations in the district’s facilities evolve, the job requirements for workers who inspect and maintain them also change, and the power tools they use must keep pace.
“Over the course of time, if they’d like something different that wasn’t initially issued to them, they go through their supervisor for that approval,” he says. “Then we order those tools for them and add them to their tool list. Upon departing from employment, they then return those tools. So all the tools are owned by the school district.”