Your Tape Measure Is the Most Expensive Tool in Your Toolbox - TigerStop ES


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Your Tape Measure Is the Most Expensive Tool in Your Toolbox

A tape measure, while seemingly inconspicuous, is the most expensive tool you own. Wondering how that could be? Don’t take our word for it. Do the math yourself.

Using a Tape Measure Takes Timeyour-tape-measure-is-the-most-expensive-tool-in-your-toolbox-tigerstop

Forget the old adage «measure twice, cut once.» The time you spend pulling out your tape, measuring, and marking material is time better spent doing value-added activities, such as cutting, drilling, or punching parts. Measuring once, let alone twice, is an incredible time suck.

Using a Tape Measure Allows for Inaccuracies

Inaccurately cut parts typically go two places:

  1. The rework department. This means an operator has to spend time fixing prior mistakes, which, again, is inefficient and costly.
  2. The scrap bin. Raw material costs are hefty and anytime material is scrapped it’s money down the drain.

Studies suggest that for every 100 parts cut, between 2 and 6 are miscut. How often is your team reworking material, or worse, scrapping it altogether due to tape measure–related errors?

Using a Tape Measure Requires Skill

Maybe you’re skilled and can read a tape measure just fine. But how about the guy next to you? Are you able to vouch for every single operator in your shop?


Finding skilled labor is hard, and finding operators who can consistently read tape measures is even more difficult. And it isn’t going to get any easier as time passes. So stop relying on your tape measure—it’s doing more harm than you know.

Using a Tape Measure Hurts Your Material Yield

How quickly can you measure and mark material and optimize that material based on all the jobs you’re currently working on? Can you quickly calculate yields and cutting orders using your tape measure, pencil, and paper? Not likely.

With rising material costs, why use a tool that isn’t capable of helping you get the maximum use of your material? And why use a tool that’s actually harming your material yield?

We Did the Math – It’s Your Turn Now

For this example, we will look at a single operator working in a manufacturing shop who makes a $25 per hour loaded wage. This wage includes all benefits, including health care, workers’ compensation, retirement, Social Security, and more. The operator works at a cutoff station 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, working a total of 240 days per year (average US working days).

  • $25 per hour salary x 8 working hours per day = $200 per day salary
  • $200 per day salary x 240 working days per year = $48,000 yearly salary

This is where the numbers start to get scary. Our operator spends 3 minutes setting up each part for processing, which includes pulling out a tape measure, measuring, marking material, walking back and forth to the saw, making the cut, and sometimes re-measuring for accuracy (thanks to the old adage!) prior to sending it to assembly. At this rate, he is able to cut 120 parts per day.

  • 3 minutes measuring each part x 120 parts processed per day = 360 minutes or 6 hours measuring per day
  • $25 per hour salary x 6 hours per day measuring = $150 per day spent measuring
  • $150 per day spent measuring x 240 working days per year = $36,000 per year spent measuring

That is 75% of your operator’s salary going directly toward tape measure–related activities. And that’s just the labor costs. We haven’t even factored in the rework costs of inaccurately measured parts or the costs of scrap waste when those parts aren’t capable of being reworked. That $36,000 doesn’t include the savings the operator misses out on from increasing raw material yield, throughput, and accuracy.

That $20 tape measure is the most dangerous tool you own. Period.

What’s the Solution?

TigerStop SawGear. Click for more info.
  • An automated positioner is three times more productive than pulling out a tape measure. Using an automated stop gauge results in perfectly cut parts every time, and zero time is spent re-working errors.
  • Typing in or downloading your measurements using TigerStop’s Downloading Software, TigerLink 6 , on an automated stop or pusher takes a fraction of the time. This means you can cut more material in a day, increase output with the same number of operators, and watch your labor costs plummet.
  • Using an automated stop gauge and material pusher is easy regardless of training or skill level. Type in your part length in fraction or decimal form, place your material, and cut. Any entry-level operator can be trained in no time flat.
  • Dynamic Optimization software determines the best cutting order so you achieve the greatest yield possible. Dynamic Pack Optimization can optimize or nest larger sized packs/bundles of material for even greater throughput. A better yield means savings directly onto your bottom line. Your tape measure can’t do that.
  • Automating your cutting, drilling, or punching processes (just to name a few) is more affordable than you may know. Considering how much a tape measure is costing your organization each year, it’s safe to say you can’t afford not to have a TigerStop automated positioner.


Eliminate non-value-added work in your operation. Ditch your tape measure. Click here to find the perfect replacement for your tape measure.