The simple answer is yes, argues John Tremblay, Wind Energy Segment Manager for Snap-on Industrial…
Conventional wisdom within the wind energy sector says that millions of dollars in tool assets are lost each year. In addition, the hidden or less obvious results of poor tool management may actually have a greater impact on the bottom line, and also carry the potential for even more serious consequences. Until very recently however, wind project and maintenance tooling seems to have taken a back seat.
There are some legitimate reasons why wind energy has been slow to embrace tool management. With rapid market growth over the last several years, the pace of work has been so great that tools have often been pushed down the priority list and considered expendable. In addition, with a generally young and inexperienced workforce, the learning curve has been steep with little band-width for other than the task at hand. The good news is, as owners and operators look for creative ways to be more profitable, improved tool management is a fertile field of opportunity.
In other ‘critical industries’ the potential impact of poor tool management is recognized as being great. Just ask someone in the aviation, aerospace, or nuclear industries if it’s important to know where tools are. Acronyms like FOD (Foreign Object Debris or Damage) and FME (Foreign Material Exclusion) are prominent in the vocabularies of these markets and refer to any substance or article alien to a system. Aircraft can be brought down due to damage caused by an unaccounted for tool. Similarly, FOD in the form of a screwdriver left in a wind turbine electrical box could cause a short, which can lead to fire and end up becoming a YouTube video.