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  • Sberry
    replied
    An outfit that has really focused is the welding machine people. I have been in a couple plants, never worked for them but from what I can see is they look for good people and have eliminated a lot of layers, the engineering is on the floor level. I was in outfit somewhat recently, never seen an engineer until it was time to go to dinner, these guys make a career of emailing each other to prove who is to blame. Years and years they never went down to actually see what the problem was.
    At Hobart a customer can call and talk to the guy that invent (design) the dam thing. They got some hands on guys actually running the place. They build great product and solve problems fast. Had an engineer solve a warranty problem on the phone in 5 minutes and 4$ freight. Nickle on a dollar for what it would have cost to hear the usual "take it to the dealer and wait a week",

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  • dondlhmn
    replied
    When I saw the "STOPWATCH" was being used, I thought that this was maybe some kind of time/motion study being done in order to have a good solid basis for bidding a whole herd of similar tables for some customer. I just don't get why one would put a stopwatch on a one-off project.

    Everything I have ever built was slow on the first one and then faster and faster as I figured out shortcuts and small time saving steps, especially cutting multiple similar parts to be used on repititious items of the same kind being made. The first one ALWAYS takes longer then subsequent ones due to the fact that you are sort of prototyping, cutting stuff for the first one (and not dozens of the same cuts for multiple products of the same type), etc.

    Personally, I would say that for a one-off project YOU wasted time monkeying around timing an operation, not to mention that if I had been the employee being timed, I would have thought the person doing the needless timing to be a pompous idiot and one that didn't have anything better to do.
    Last edited by dondlhmn; 03-18-2011, 08:54 AM.

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  • Sberry
    replied
    I seen factories run by BA types, keep shoving people thru the door to run production, didn't have a clue they would have been X ahead to invest in maintenance crew. Skilled men would have replaced 5 other production workers, took a load off payroll and infrastructure. All these jobs,,,, well they were not sustainable.The plant should have been able to run with 200 workers vs 300 and would still be there today with some appreciation of skilled trade work.

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  • Sberry
    replied
    I do some time study too, if it takes 3 1/2 the minimum is 4, even if,, whats a guy gonna do in a half an hour to lunch,, clean up, even have a rest or break, continue to work 40 hrs+ a week and keep a decent pace,, lots of real world factors to consider in time study. Some general maintenance is in order per each man hour worked even if it is cleaning the floor.
    On some jobs there is a factor of how much plant and material is waiting on the guys, like JT by keeping track of some numbers he could likely get workforce twice as good as the general large contractor. I seen jobs where we were stuck with what we had, all across the board from worst to best, the best were worth 2 men or more and in some cases the production numbers were far higher when considering liability,,, failed inspection, rework, etc even if it was fairly minor it meant taking your best from critical to do repair. Makes a big difference when a guy gets 4 joints a day easy while another works azz off to get 2 and solves the rest of his own problems besides.
    If all the (50) men were as good as the 10 best we would get done in half the time with only 30 men, nearly half the equipment and support, etc, right down to the pissers.

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  • GerryR
    replied
    Sberry, +1 on what you said.

    JTMcC
    ".....Money in the bank, to be guarded, treasured, respected and well fed.
    Ask any decent employer."

    I've been around quite awhile. May retire this year, Lord willing. I've seen too many "bottom lines" balanced by laying off, or sending home, good people. "Decent employers" seem to be rare. That is the key, though.

    .

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  • Sberry
    replied
    I had a guy, my Dad made comment one day,,, he sure moves kind of slow. Well the shop isn't Dads big thing and production numbers are tricky but this guy was always prepared, didn't hurry, didn't mess up, never broke stuff, very accurate, good with service manuals, repair complex assemblies and enjoyed all the tedious fitting. I had to tell Dad,,, he saved us 300$ (and eliminated any inconvenience of not having machine broke down) yesterday morning, fixed a pump head, no parts cost, unit back running, worked fine ever since.

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  • Sberry
    replied
    Training men is such a huge issue, so over looked even by large companies. Specialization lead to the rise in the human and made industrialization possible, much easier to train a guy to do one thing well. Over the years I have tried a lot of stuff, I finally gave up to some extent. Not everyone can be trained to do everything. I finally find a few guys that I find what they can do well and stick them on that, training is just too slow and its tough to make someone observant if they are not, I try to get some to ask for help vs trying to solve their own problems. I send a guy out with roto tiller, I look out an hour later and he is down the row 50 ft and been pulling the cord for an hour, now I am behind with work I thought would have been done, so much easier to get the mechanic and 5 mins later its running right. Mechanic can sit there the rest of the hour and still paid for himself.

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  • Sberry
    replied
    I was fooling around contemplating going back to work, it was just a thought but was interested in someone I could really help, an outfit with certain aspects they maybe did well but where their execution was lame. One I was looking at that was a possibility but not sure i can get the owner off the pot to make changes, missing a lot of work procured in the field and repeat biz due to the idea of finding guys he is going to "train" etc. Not all problems can be solved behind the desk in an office.
    Going to work for good company that executes well it would take a lot more work to be outstanding and I can't help someone that does their job well. Was looking for a spot where I could make big improvement, outfit that did some things well but had room to come up to speed in the field.
    Some jobs can done with less specialized and skilled men or the time difference may not be an issue but got to agree with JT, in the welding biz you can hire a good man for the same or near wage rate as you can a slug in many cases, makes sense to keep the best you can.
    Was building some stuff last week, I have a helper and a master mechanic part time. A lot of difference in project speed when the master is here, we figure out in general what we are going to do (design and build) but once that happens life gets easier, he layout, do design, solve problems, etc and I come up behind with the plasma cutter and do one thing at a time. My helper is good at what he does and he does what i want but the master can solve his own problems and come up with workable solutions besides being able to burn and weld well. Makes a huge difference in output with another man, like hitting over drive when he comes in the door, makes it look easy to.

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  • JTMcC
    replied
    Originally posted by gwiley View Post
    I'd say that keeping loyal employees HELPS the bottom line. Training new folks is expensive and attrition slows projects down. A bean counter who knew his business would include retention in sunk cost calculations.

    Think about it - how long does it take for "the new guy" to get up to speed? In my industry (computers) it can take 6 months, my guess is that in the trades like welding it might be a little faster but I would bet not much faster when you factor in all the things that go into an efficient and productive worker.

    Right-o.
    I disagree with the quoted post too.
    Everybody I know in business is pretty well infatuated with getting and keeping high quality hands. And getting and keeping high quality customers. Without either you are dead in this business.
    Given the large number of out of work slugs in the market today they almost have to be
    It's one of those things that "sounds good" to the uninformed but not true in most cases. I really doubt how many welders the poster has hired over the years.
    I can't comment on the lower level production type low skill trigger puller jobs but in the construction field I see companies treating sound, productive welders "right" more often than not.
    Think about it, how does a business owner in Welding World make money when he's driving away good employees and good customers. He doesn't.
    Good, happy, well paid, welders that produce product with minimal supervision(whatever it may be) in a steady, reliable manner (and show up every day, on time and sober) are the Mothers Milk of a welding business. Money in the bank, to be guarded, treasured, respected and well fed.
    Ask any decent employer.

    JTMcC.

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  • gwiley
    replied
    Originally posted by GerryR View Post
    Bean-counter mentality. Nobody seems to care about creating and keeping loyal employees. It's just about the bottom line. Well, the bottom line is that just about everything is coming out of other countries these days. I just don't understand it
    I'd say that keeping loyal employees HELPS the bottom line. Training new folks is expensive and attrition slows projects down. A bean counter who knew his business would include retention in sunk cost calculations.

    Think about it - how long does it take for "the new guy" to get up to speed? In my industry (computers) it can take 6 months, my guess is that in the trades like welding it might be a little faster but I would bet not much faster when you factor in all the things that go into an efficient and productive worker.

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  • GerryR
    replied
    Bean-counter mentality. Nobody seems to care about creating and keeping loyal employees. It's just about the bottom line. Well, the bottom line is that just about everything is coming out of other countries these days. I just don't understand it

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  • jworman
    replied
    Originally posted by MMW View Post
    Use your info wisely. My last boss would quote a job at say 23 hrs. I would bust my butt cutting reasonable corners & if the job went well with no unexpected issues I got it done in 19 hrs. I would think, great we made a couple extra bucks.

    Next time we get the job he would quote it at 19-20 hrs. cause that's what it took last time. However this time one of the pcs. was bowed & had to be straightened, a flame cut pc. from a supplier was cut to long & had to be burned shorter & then the saw blade had to be changed, etc. Now it took 24 hrs. Now we lost money on this job.

    My point is you really need to work, communicate with your employee.
    This isn't a welding story, but it is a time story that seems to fit here.

    I worked for a large company that started making and servicing large photo copiers. When the Model 2 came out the plant sent down the word that they expected that it should take 10 hours a month to service each machine. A really great employee should be able to do it in 9 hours.

    Who wasn't a 'great employee'? Very soon everyone was reporting 9 hours a month in maintenance time.

    Before long the plant came along and said "Whoops, we miscalculated. It takes 9 hours to maintain these machine. A 'really great employee' can do it in 8.

    Immediately 8 hours a month was being reported as the time to maintain these machine. Of course it was taking a lot more time, but nobody was going to say what it took.

    Finally there was a big meeting. The plant people came along and said "we have no idea how much time it takes to service these machines. We have been lied to so much, we don't have a clue".

    Soon we were out of the copier business.

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  • fjk
    replied
    Originally posted by JTMcC View Post
    I time everything we do (and have for almost 20 years)
    ...
    Good numbers = good income for everybody including the guy sweeping the floors.
    A stopwatch might infuriate the slugs of the world, but sound productive hands will understand what's going on and what it means to their personal income.
    That's my take.

    JTMcC, still timing and a taking notes.

    "When you can measure what you are speaking of and express it in numbers,
    you know that on which you are discoursing. But when you cannot measure it
    and express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a very meagre and
    unsatisfactory kind." - Lord Kelvin

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  • JTMcC
    replied
    I time everything we do (and have for almost 20 years) unless it's a task that we've done over and over and I have sound numbers for it.
    That's how the guy responsible for bidding work gets priceless info (and no, it's not available on the internet or in software), and streamlines the process.
    It's never offended any of the cats who work for me. They know that the better I bid, the more money in their pocket. It has nothing to do with hounding an employee to us. We don't hound anybody, good hands work, slugs go away. It does have a lot to do with sleeping well at night after turning in a large bid.
    They also know that if I just take a wild guess, they'll be out of work.
    Besides they are pretty slick & fast dudes so they fear no stop watch.
    Good quotes get you work that you can make money on and keeps you out of the dark hole of money losers.
    I love quoting against people who don't know their numbers because they either don't get the work, or they get it and lose money so you can go to the auction when they sell out. Nobody turns in a fine tuned bid without putting an accurate time on every task involved.
    A good example is the simple frames a guy asked about in another thread, the replies he got were waaaaaay high to me, evidently not for the ones who replied.
    If you think people can cram into their head a time for every task that gets done over the years you're smokin the crack.
    Good numbers = good income for everybody including the guy sweeping the floors.
    A stopwatch might infuriate the slugs of the world, but sound productive hands will understand what's going on and what it means to their personal income.
    That's my take.

    JTMcC, still timing and a taking notes.

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  • Donald Branscom
    replied
    "Those who rule with an iron hand, also rule with an iron head."

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