This month’s product focus is on “Tools and Equipment” — always one of my favorites. Roofing people — all people who construct things for a living — must leverage tools and equipment to keep their jobs moving forward safely and productively to produce good results at a profit.

To honor the good tools we use to make a living, especially hand tools and power tools, I want to shine a light on the toolbox. It does not cut, bend, braze, grind or solder anything. Toolboxes do, however, play a vital part in a well-organized shop and worksite. Consider some of the ways a toolbox can contribute to your tasks.

Number one, the toolbox helps keep your jobsite safe. Tools kept in their proper containers are easier to move from shop to truck to roof. Less motion equals less opportunity for an incident of loss. In addition to that, properly stowed tools and equipment are not subjected to the vagaries of the worksite, so they are less prone to dulled blades, or frayed and cut power cords. One laceration from a loose blade or someone tripping on a tool that is out of place can result in lost time (and money). And a tool that is out of service because it was not properly cared for can ruin production for your entire crew.

Toolboxes can be part of your asset security program as well. These days, especially on large jobs with many trades around, tools and equipment can grow legs — even in places you think are secure. Tools that have no specific place to be stored when not in use have a tendency to be misplaced. They may or may not be stolen, but if they are lost and cannot be easily found, they might as well be.

Back to clean and safe: Your customers may not be hanging around your trucks or even their own jobsite, but they do appear. When they do, what do they see? Tools and equipment scattered all about do not make a good impression. A neat and clean worksite can be one of your best marketing tools, and you do not have to pay a penny extra for it. Your customers may not know what the tools are for or exactly what you do with them, but they recognize a sloppy job. What do you want them to remember about the experience of seeing your team in action?

Last, but not least, back to the topic of productivity: Tools and equipment are not free to own and operate, and the training you must provide their operators may be the biggest part of your tool and equipment investment. As part of purchasing a new tool or training your operators, consider the toolbox right then and there. Don’t just buy the tool — go for the whole package, or at least make sure there is a plan to store and care for it at the shop and on the worksite. Make sure that everyone on the team who will address the tool knows not only how to use it but how to store it to keep it safe, secure and ready for action.

I believe the lowly toolbox is one of the most productive tools you can buy: a real money maker. So if I am right, what’s really in your toolbox? How about your wallet?