Ken Cutsforth, fleet services crew leader for the Eugene Water & ­Electric Board in Oregon, uses...

Ken Cutsforth, fleet services crew leader for the Eugene Water & ­Electric Board in Oregon, uses agency-provided tools in the fleet shop.

Photo courtesy of Eugene Water & Electric Board

Recruitment is a main issue for government fleets considering whether to provide agency-owned tools for technicians to use or provide an allowance for them to buy their own tools. 

Gary Lentsch, CAFM, fleet manager for the Eugene Water & Electric Board in Oregon noted some benefits and drawbacks of agency-provided tools:

Benefits of Providing Tools

Safety. “You can provide a professional set of tools, and you know they’re maintained to your standards, so when one gets worn down, we replace it,” Lentsch said.

Productivity. Agency-owned tools means minimized tool truck time and increased productivity, Lentsch said. The tool trucks still stop by every other week to take care of warranty or other issues, but they don’t spend time with each technician like they would in a technician-owned situation.

Ethics. Depending on your organization’s policies of having employees come on-site during non-work hours, employees are not coming in after hours to retrieve their tools, and they don’t loan agency-owned tools out to other employees for personal use, Lentsch said.

Drawbacks of Providing Tools

Hiring. A technician candidate that has invested thousands of dollars in tools might not be willing to let them sit idle (in storage). 

Cost. The initial capital to purchase tools for technicians might be out of reach for many fleets.

There are benefits and drawbacks on both sides of the debate. Read the full story below: