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Machine Balance, Flow Charts, Rake off sheets, Time Study Clipboards, Synthetic Values, Cycle Time Observation,  Pitch Times, Yamazumi, Kaizen, Lean Mfg, Heat Input, Weld Values, Welding Procedures, Qualified Welding Procedures, Pre qualified Welding Procedures and a whole plethora of buzz words bounce around conversations in the office. All of then boil down to “Let’s Make Money Smarter.”

For the poor smuck on the shop floor it means, “Speed Up, Dog.”  For a value to be true it first must be obtainable, fair and measurable.  Values too tight simply mean an unreal cost while values too loose push the cost upwards. Remember  Parkinson's law; "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion".

Or Horstman's corollary to Parkinson's law:  Work contracts or expands to fit in the time we give it. “The amount of time one has to do a job is generally the amount it takes to do it.”

In the mfg facility of my former employment, the Lincoln Method of incentive management was used quite successfully. The quality of product produced was not reduced by the incentive. A man could make as much as another third of his paycheck by producing twice the established rate. A work piece with a value of four hours and could be done in two hours by diligent work would produce dollar value incentives.  It was a win win for management as long as quality and integrity were factors. If a mistake was made then it was up to the individual to repair it on what was known as straight time. No incentive possibility here but it was a cost factor to the man repairing the mistake. The operator, who’s bonus depended on the parts being on the floor, was diligent in informing the foreman that he would be needing more parts soon.  The work place was kept clean and orderly. Any infraction was sternly rebuked by the chief shift (first shift senior man) . There was a way to roll up the weld and air leads. Tools were put back in the gang box. The crane was stored in a certain area and the such like. Order, organization, cleanliness produce good work and productivity.

What happened to this utopian work  environment?  

  1. This meant that parts would come down the supply chain one piece at a time.
  2. For poor welder Joe that meant that today you make one side rail, one bumper, and one upright.
  3. Poor Joe had to take his tools, clean up three areas, move from one to another   and still try to make bonus.
  4. Joe had a built in work ethic that required him to have his bonus going by the first hour into the shift. It was built in to his makeup.
  5. Now Joe must grab his tools, move to an area that is trashed, clean and organize it first, get his parts, fixtures , find a chain, grinder, welding machine, hook it all up and try to make bonus.
  6. Joe’s bonus is gone. Impossible for him to make. Cost him a cut in wages of one third.
  7. Joe is not happy anymore. He doesn’t have a definable goal any longer.
  1. Machine shop setup times are eating up the machine shop so they get their batch production back.

              Time marches on and one day the foreman lets everyone know that there isn’t anymore bonus. Sorry guys.

  1. A structure that used to cost 24000.00 to manufacture has now grown to 48,000.00 because there is none to say what it is supposed to cost.  All this cost is then moved on to the customer.

Wow, look what we have saved. The Standards Department of 10 men is gone along with their supervisor. We save all that extra bonus money that we were paying for nothing. We got rid of the Methods Engineers that made 55 grand a year. And we cut the cost of structures in process.  All this at an immeasurable cost that would stagger your mind.




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