Having a standardized system for tools is key to keeping your facility clean, organized, safe, and efficient. Whether you’re working through the 5S methodology or you need to declutter workbenches, you will find when workers can find tools and you have a comprehensive tool storage system, production will run much smoother.

Tool Organizer Foam

For tool drawers or tool chests, you can use customizable foam to create a tool organization system to prevent tools from going missing. It is extremely easy to begin using and can have a significant impact on your organizational efforts. The density of closed-cell foam can also help protect your tools with an extra layer between tools and the surrounding environment. Water, chemicals, and other contaminants cannot be absorbed into the tool foam, preventing unnecessary damage.

This customizable tool foam is usually available as part of a kit, which means you will receive two pieces of foam in contrasting colors. The brighter color foam is placed in the bottom of the drawer. After receiving your tool foam, you will need to layout the tools you are organizing in a logical manner. Make sure to leave enough room to cut semi-circles for each tool to ensure easy pick up. Next, trace the outline of the tools onto the second of foam using a hot knife or retractable blade. Finally, place the customized piece of foam into your drawer on top of the brighter color beneath. The contrasting color of the bottom layer will show through, clearly highlighting any missing tools.

Tool Outlining Shadow Boards

Tool outlining means creating a visual outline or “shadow board effect” for tools, so you can quickly return tools to their proper home and identify misplaced or lost tools immediately. It will also help you maintain your new tool organization system and ensure consistency in the facility.

For pegboards and other hanging tool systems, this is done by placing painted or vinyl cutouts of your tools behind those tools. Vinyl tool outlines work well since they are easy to apply and require no maintenance. This method is called shadow boarding. Like the tool foam, you will need to do a bit of customization. Trace the tools you are storing onto a sheet of tool outline vinyl and cut them out. Next, adhere the shapes in a way that makes sense, like keeping wrenches together or arranging them by size, and hang up your tools for a finished (and organized) pegboard.

These methods of organizing tools are simple but effective. They make organization more visual, which makes it easier for people to follow your organizational protocols without too much thought.

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