by Ian Lofthouse, Business Manager (Tools & Maintenance)
Ian oversees all activity of the extensive tools & industrial division at Hayley Group. His entire 32-year career has been spent working in the supply and distribution of tools and machines to industry.
In a time where workshops, factories, and manufacturing plants are busy producing goods up and down the country against a backdrop of a global pandemic, tool kitting and control practices have come under increased focus for businesses. The usual wide-spread sharing of tools and equipment among employees has become a point of real concern, with hygiene and the threat of cross-contamination being magnified by the Coronavirus outbreak.
Solutions developed by our strategic supply partner, Beta Tools, can help to effectively reduce the risk of cross-contamination of tools at your facility, helping to protect staff well-being, and the integrity of products, ensuring operations can continue to run as smoothly as possible. Beta tool storage and control systems achieve this in several ways:
1. Control user access
Through secure tool storage systems and controlled user access, only approved personnel can access the tools designated for their use. Fewer staff are therefore picking from the same storage systems and the number of employees handling the same tools is significantly reduced as a result. Where staff are provided with their own Beta tool storage system, containing tools suitable for the requirements of their daily tasks, fears over cross-contamination are eliminated. In this way, staff having their own tool storage, restricted only to them, is a powerful solution in combatting the spread of germs among the workforce and into product.
Hayley Group are also able to provide Beta storage units with trays inserted with food-safe antibacterial foam – a brand-new innovation on the market. This antibacterial foam has been specifically developed to meet the demands of customers looking to maintain high standards of hygiene and safety in the challenging times of a worldwide pandemic. This product is therefore incredibly relevant for our customers operating in the food and beverages industry.
2. Improve monitoring to ensure hygiene is upheld
With tools better protected and organised in a clear way that is understood and accepted by those using the tool control system, the vital process of monitoring is made simpler. In a perfect scenario, tools are checked for damage and kits examined for missing tools at the end of every shift by a supervisor. With the increased focus on hygiene that Coronavirus has brought, supervisors can check that tools are not left around the workshop and ready to be picked up by other staff, easier and quicker with a tool control system in-place.
Beta tool assortments are available in rigid thermoformed trays, ready for placement within their roller cabinets. Each tool can only fit into its designated space within the tray, making it easy to see which items have not been returned. As a result, monitoring and auditing are made more efficient and effective, with fewer absent items being missed.
3. Minimise staff travel
With the location and availability of tools optimised following the implementation of tool kitting and control solutions, staff have access to what they need at the point of use. This means that staff are not forced into searching in different places for the tools they need, more than likely passing numerous colleagues and handling multiple items in the process. By minimising the travel time required from workstation to tools, social-distancing can be upheld easier and risks of cross-contamination can be significantly allayed.
In conclusion, by employing effective tool kitting and control practices, businesses can reduce cross-contamination and help to uphold a standard of hygiene that has come under increased scrutiny during the Coronavirus pandemic. This scrutiny is even fiercer among organisations operating in the food and beverage industry, which already has to meet a ‘gold standard’ in terms of hygiene and hygienic practices.
For more information on how Hayley Group can support you and your business in these incredibly challenging times, contact your local branch.