Whether you are managing an existing service department, or trying to setup a new one, the tool inventory can be a source of many headaches. What tools are needed? What do I have to spend on tools to get equipped to the level I would like? How do I stay ahead of tool wear and failure, instead of finding out about it only once it creates a crisis?
The Tool Manager is a Microsoft Works database with pre-designed reports that are the cures to these headaches. Since the Tool Manager contains a very comprehensive list of recommended tools, it can be used to create a tool inventory from scratch, or it can be used as a point of comparison to your existing tool inventory to determine where you might need some improvement or expansion.
If you are happy with your existing selection of tools, you can empty the Tool Manager of all of its records, replacing them with information for all your existing tools, then use your customized version for all the same functions the original version has: performing periodic maintenance and inspections of your tool set, creating budgets for tool-set expansions, or generating want lists for tools you would like to order.
The illustration below is a form view for one tool out of the hundreds in the Tool Manager database. Review the illustration to see what types of data are recorded for each tool. Three categories of information (Tool, Category, and Function) are used to identify a tool. The Category data also serves as one way or organizing the data (grouping tools that are related in function and use together), for the purpose of generating certain reports.
The Location information allows the tools to be organized by common physical location in your store, for purposes of generating certain reports. For example, you might select all the tools that are located at Bench 1 to create a report that would show you how much it would cost to expand by another bench that would be similarly equipped. All of the tools in the Tool Manager database are assigned a Priority value. This allows you to rank tools by order of importance so you know which tools to order first if you are building your tool inventory on a limited budget.
The other types of data are labeled Acquired, Price, Service Cycle, Last Service, and Condition. The date of aquisition simply allows you to track how old a tool is. The Price information is used for purposed of generating cost estimates for purchase of tools. The Service Cycle data is used to sort data for reports that are used to perform periodic maintenance and inspections of tools so you can catch a problem before it becomes a crisis. Last Service and Condition are where you record the results of these periodic inspections.
Below is an example of one of the Tool Manager tools - a report used for performing a weekly inspection and service of a portion of the tool inventory. With just a few clicks of the mouse you can pull up similar reports for tools that need monthly, quarterly, or yearly inspections and maintenance.
The Tool Manager contains other reports you can use to generate a list of tools that need to be ordered, or to calculate to cost of a tool purchase, and even to generate a tool-budget with the tools listed in order of procurement priority.