What's in your engineers kit bag?

Richard Tubb

Do you have an engineer kit bag? Most of us within the IT industry do. It’s a collection of tools, cables and other essential bits that you’ll find useful on a day to day basis.

Whether you’re the owner of your IT business, an engineer within an IT business, or even a “one man band”, having an engineer kit bag that you can carry with you when you visit client sites can save you hours of wasted time, and save you dollars in wasted costs!

The Engineers Kit Bag

Engineers-Kit-BagThe idea behind an engineer kit bag is for you to avoid the situation that can frequently occur when you visit a client site and find yourself needing a common item to complete a job.

It could be you need an Ethernet cable to connect a new machine to the network, or a power cable to replace a dodgy connection, or a replacement mouse or keyboard to get an employee back up and running again.

Speaking from experience, nothing is more frustrating than needing an every day IT item to fix an issue and finding that you don’t have that item with you! The engineers kit bag mitigates against those situations occurring.

Why not buy ad-hoc instead?

You might argue against investing in an engineers kit bag, citing the fact that you have electronics or a computing store within distance of all your client sites.

That may be true, but have you considered how long it takes for you to “pop out” from a client site to a local store to pick up the items you need. It may only be 15 minutes -- but those 15 minutes sure start to add up over the months and years!

It’s also frustrating to pop in to a local electronics store and pay through the nose for a cable or tool that you know only costs a few pennies to order from the Internet. The trouble is, you need the convenience of having the item now -- not tomorrow!

Time and money are the prices you pay for not investing in an engineer kit bag.

Equipping all engineers... and clients?

As the former owner of an IT Service Provider myself, I had an engineers kit bag in the boot of my car -- even beyond the days of me actively doing technical work within my business. My role still entailed me visiting client sites for account management, and rarely a visit went by without a client asking me to swap out a keyboard, or to look at a faulty machine. Being able to resolve these minor issues there and then was valuable to the clients, and helped me serve them best.

We actually went further that just equipping each engineer with a kit bag, and made sure every client had a small box of bits -- spare mice, keyboards, Ethernet cables, power cables and the like -- which were kept on their site somewhere safe. Then, when the client logged a support ticket with us, we could instruct them to grab a replacement cable from the on-site kit box and help us troubleshoot the issue remotely, often mitigating against the need to make a site visit by solving the problem over the ‘phone.

Of course, you don’t want to invest in lots of tools and cables for every client site, as you have little control over those items going walk about, but given the small cost of a handful of replacement mice, ethernet cables and the like, it’s a worthwhile investment at most client sites.

Conclusion

An engineer's kit bag containing a collection of every day IT troubleshooting items, such as replacement keyboards and mice, power cables, Ethernet cables and the like, can help you reduce the time spent resolving hardware issues and increase client satisfaction.

Equipping all your engineers with these items, and going a step further a placing these items at your client sites, can help mitigate against lost engineers time as they run back and forth to local electronics stores to source the items they need, paying a hefty mark-up for such items that could always be sourced cheaply over the Internet.

Ultimately, something as simple as the engineers kit bag can help you lower your cost of support.

What’s in your engineers kit bag? Leave us a comment below and tell us!