Ask any worker what kind of environment they want to work in, and they’ll describe a setting that is clean, organized, and safe. Unfortunately, wanting that kind of workplace and putting the work into creating it are two separate things.
Because metalworking shops handle so many different tools and materials, implementing and maintaining a solid organizational system can be difficult. Once you achieve it, though, your business can reap the benefits of a safer and more efficient workplace. Check out these organizational tips to improve your metalworking shop and make life easier for yourself and your workers.
Organize Based on Existing Practices
One of the biggest challenges of maintaining an organized workplace is getting workers to consistently follow best practices. You can make this easier by creating an organizational system that follows your existing practices as much as possible. When employees don’t have to go far out of their way to retrieve or replace tools, they’re more likely to stay organized throughout the day.
There are a few ways to create a natural organization system. One option is to centralize your tool storage so that everyone can easily access what they need from anywhere in the shop. Keep specific tool usage in mind, though. If one workstation uses certain resources more than others, keep that equipment close at hand to make it more convenient.
Build Logical Workflow Paths
Another tip for organizing your metalworking shop is to think about your workflows. Observe how materials and projects move through your facility. How can you streamline that movement? Look for ways to eliminate backtracking and minimize the number of times projects cross paths during the fabrication process. When projects can follow a logical path through your shop, you cut excess transportation times, reduce mix-ups and other mistakes, and create a more productive shop layout.
Emphasize the Small Things, Too
Organization isn’t all about the big picture; you also have to focus on little practices that can help you save time and energy. For example, proper metal cutting tool storage helps you organize smaller tools like drill bits and end mills so that employees can always find the exact piece they need. Labeled storage cases, drawer dividers, or magnetic strips are all efficient ways to keep smaller tools organized and accessible at all times.
Broken tools or worn equipment can quickly turn into excess clutter that slows down your workflow and hinders safety and productivity. If a tool is broken, either fix it or dispose of it. This frees up space for better tools and ensures your team always has working equipment that they can rely on. Staying on top of worn or damaged equipment also helps you keep up with routine maintenance and cleaning procedures, which helps make each project smooth and successful.