There may be a leak in your roofing business. A money leak, that is. One of the most daunting tasks the owner of a roof-contracting firm faces is in controlling costs. We tend to focus most of our time and energy on big-ticket items such as payroll, insurance, fleet and facilities. Some “leaks” can be so small that they are barely noticeable, but they can grow into big problems if left alone.
As many roof-contracting enterprises grow, people and the tools and equipment they need are added along the way. When there are very few people, the job of keeping up with small assets is not so much of a problem. As your team grows, problems with small assets such as tools and equipment begin to emerge. Tools and equipment may be looked upon as “commodities” that are consumed in the routine conduct of the business. While we all must agree that this may apply to bits and blades, it should not apply to drills, saws, generators and heat welders.
This month’s issue of Roofing Contractor features our annual Tool and Equipment Guide. While I hope you will find some great new sources and ideas to increase your productivity by way of the products offered here, I really want to encourage you to take this opportunity to patch any leaks that may be traced to how you handle your existing tools and equipment.
Take StockBorrowing a phrase from a Paul Simon tune, there must be 50 ways to keep control of the tools and equipment needed to keep your production high and costs low. The basis for nearly any scheme should involve a good accounting of all your tools and equipment. The size of your enterprise will dictate how much you put into this. It may simply become one person’s task to make and keep a regular inventory of all the company’s tools and equipment. All the users would simply report to that individual when tools are used or need repair or must be replaced. Larger enterprises will require more sophisticated tracking systems, but the game is the same: make sure everything is accounted for at the end of the day and make sure it is ready to go when you need it.
Spring CleaningOK, so summer is almost here, but this would still be a great time to call for a complete cleaning of the places where all your tools and equipment are kept. Include every toolbox on every truck and every locker or cage in your warehouse. It’s a good time to take or review that inventory.
Next, go about the business of cleaning and testing every tool. If you find there are “dead” tools lying around, do not be surprised. Clean and fix them or throw them out. Do recycle dead batteries from your cordless tools. Most home centers and building supply stores can help with that. Dead tools take up valuable space and just add to the clutter that costs you time and money.
Now go back to the toolboxes and tool crib. Do you have sufficient storage capacity to handle your tools and equipment? Is that part of the problem that causes tools and equipment to go missing? If so, now’s the time to add some storage capacity. Some new padlocks may be in order while you are at it.
After you have cleaned up all of your tools and equipment and toolboxes and storage areas, take the time to circle back and figure out how you are going to keep it this way. Again, come up with the scheme that fits the size of your enterprise and your culture. Plan on spending a few bucks on this now and it will pay you back in future production gains.