There I was, sitting in one of my favorite places to eat. It was a big night out because it was my birthday. But, not just any birthday, it was the BIG 3-0!
I sat there with all of my family, friends and loved ones with my favorite drink in hand: The Zombie! If you haven’t tried this drink, you must be careful because it’s very strong. As I’m sitting there enjoying my cocktail, eating my favorite salad covered in ginger dressing, and slurping down the wonderful taste of Miso soup. I see the tall white hat appear from the back of the restaurant.
“Here he comes!” I said.
I turned to my wife and said, “This never gets old.”
I sit at the edge of my seat with my neck extended out like a turtle.
“Yup, that’s our guy. He’s coming this way,” I said.
He was pushing his cart, which was filled with tons of fresh lobster, steak, rice, shrimp, chicken and veggies. He pulled his push cart right beside our Hibachi table and greeted us with a smile. He went around the table and made sure everyone’s order was correct. As he was doing so, I couldn’t help but notice the cart filled with food, sauces and gadgets. Also, his belt held several knives and tools. He began to clean the cooking surface and the show began!
He was like a ninja up there. He was grabbing the food off the cart, throwing it on the grill, and he was flipping his tools in the air and making the ever so famous volcano! I watched the chef do his thing, grabbing the tools and food without even glancing at the cart or his belt. I was amazed. I began to observe him and his technique. He had a system with that cart and his tools. He could have prepared that meal with his eyes closed! Not only was I entertained by his performance, but I was so impressed with his organization of his push cart and belt. As the warm volcano flame lit up my face and got applause from the table, I nodded and the light bulb above my head went on!
That following Monday, I knew I had to start organizing my tool bucket right away. I made a trip to the local supply house and purchased a few bucket buddies for my spackle bucket. Things needed to change instantly. No more throwing tools into a bucket and taking 20 minutes trying to find one tool that I need for the job at hand.
I dumped all of my tools on the pavement and began to separate all of the hand tools from the soldering tools. I installed the bucket buddies on two separate buckets and began to put my hand tools in one bucket and the soldering tools in another. There were so many different pockets throughout the bucket buddy I wasn’t sure if I’d fill each one up. But of course I did!
I designated a pocket for each tool. I kept the channel locks in the two outside pockets next to each other with a Teflon tape in front of each channel lock. I made sure I was so precise with where I put each tool. This made me aware of where each tool was. If I or my helper needed the Teflon tape, I knew exactly where it was. The pocket right in front of the channel locks! I did this all throughout the tool bucket. Next to the channel locks was the snips and next to them was the crimp tool and the inside pouch was lined with five or six different screw drivers and nut drivers. I did the same with my second bucket which was designated for all of my soldering material. Each tool had a certain place from the striker to mini cutters to solder to cleaning brushes and flux.
I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Sean you are a lunatic!” I’m not though. You must apply this method to your tool buckets because it will save you time, money and aggravation. Not only will it save you time from finding the right tool, but it will save your helper from wanting to pull out his hair! If I’m underneath a sink and I ask my helper for a certain tool, he simply reaches down to the tool bucket and knows exactly where the tools is. I LOVE IT!
Not only did I change and organize my tool buckets, but I made all of my co-workers do the same. No more messy tool buckets allowed in BMC Plumbing and Heating. I made the workers organize their buckets exactly how mine was organized. This helped tremendously because no matter what helper was with which technician the tool buckets were identical. Time = Money!
I know you never thought I’d make the correlation between a plumber and a hibachi chef, but I did! My tool buckets may not hold fresh lobster, steak, rice, shrimp, chicken and veggies. However, I know that making this change with my tools will only help me become more organized and save more time on each job. Plumbers may not be able to awe a customer with a volcano made of onions but you do get the occasional customer who is very impressed with your organized tool bucket. Seriously though, apply this technique to your company and I guarantee it will make you and your helpers much happier. Oh, and again, be careful with those Zombie drinks. Happy Plumbing!