If a large part of your job is in wood, plastic, or metal crafting, then you need a good tool guy in your corner. Custom tooling companies are NOT just an unnecessary expense. When you use your tools professionally, tool management is essential to preserving your capital assets and slowing the depreciation process. But what to look for in a custom tooling company? You probably know generally what you need…tool sharpening, tool coating, tool repair, etc. But with a good tool management company, it’s not necessarily what they provide. It’s how they provide it. Before committing to a tool management company, ask everyone on your short list the following questions:
1. Do they practice CNC tooling?
A CNC tooling machine is a machine that can shape your tools from two points at the same time. So if you want a fillet or something sharpened along a slope or a curved line, CNC tooling is a must for best precision.
2. How many companies use them?
Knowing vaguely what kind of market share your tool coating and tool sharpening guy has will give you a better idea of their quality. And as you probably know, it’s a big market! There are 88,000 cabinetmakers in the U.S. alone, so do your research. Find out how many people operate in your trade in your state, and compare your short list’s regular clients to this number.
3. How long have they been in business?
Tool management is not an easy business to begin. The startup costs and capital requirements to conduct tool coating, sharpening, and repair operations can be considerable, especially if they do CNC tooling. The longer the company’s been in business as well as their growth rate will give you an idea of their staying power. You don’t want some uppity startup selling you a bill of goods.
4. Do they have a wide variety of accessories and techniques available?
Our favorite tool management outfits are also people in the tool selling business. What better way to learn about tool coating for example than to be walked through cutting edge inventory? Also, we’re betting you’re an expert when it comes to your specific niches of machine technicality. However, if you’re anything like the craftsmen we spoke to, venturing outside your sphere of influence can make your head spin! A good tool management company won’t just fix what you have. They’ll teach you something and expose you to different kinds of drill bits, tool coating, sharpening techniques, and other machine complexities.
And for all the DIY people out there…
Tool management is where you want to start! Any project you are thinking about undertaking will be far better off if you take the time to check and fix your tools on the front end. After all, it doesn’t matter if you know how to do the work if you don’t have anything effective in your arsenal to get the job done.
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