Monday, February 27, 2006

Sears Quick Tool Change Replacement Muda

Sears has a cool quick tool change system in their Craftsman tool line called Speed Lok that has converted me from the old method of changing drill bits with a key. The Speed Lok system has a quick connection that allows for the quick change. It works great on projects where I need to drill a pilot hole first then easily change bits to screw in the boards.

From a lean manufacturing point of view, this is a nice quick change system. However, when it comes to getting a replacement bit, the Sears system has muda. All drill bits are considered perishable tooling with tool wear and breakage so there will come a time to replace a bit. This past weekend, in the middle of a project, my 5/32" bit broke.

I thought it would not be a problem to just replace it. It didn't turn out as easy as I originally thought. Apparently, my local Sears store does not carry individual bits of the Speed Lok system yet carried a wide selection of the old key method bits which could be bought individually. My only choice, if I wanted to stay with the Speed Lok, was to buy another set. The smallest set was 21 pieces. Why force a customer to buy 21 pieces when they only need 1 piece? MUDA!

Maybe a different Sears store carries individual bits but that would take me out of my way. Good thing the 21 piece set was on sale, I saved 50% of the cost. If I could have bought just the individual bit, I'm sure I could have saved even more.

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