The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 9 (February 25, 1927)
Production Engineering — Part IX. — Analysing The Job
Among the various duties of production officers at the workshops is that of checking the progress of the work on schedule in the various departments. The production officer makes a daily visit to each department, and from the leading hand or foreman he ascertains whether or not each item on the schedule is done. He asks for reasons if the job is not done, traces any material required and, where necessary, advises the general foreman or workshop manager of factors retarding the progress of the work so that the latter officers may give the question of remedy their personal attention.
The daily visits of inspection of the various jobs, in most cases the only part of the business which comes under the notice of the man on the shop floor, has caused many to be of the opinion that the production officer's task is a very simple one. But this impression is erroneous.
The question has been asked by workmen in the shops, “How can a clerical man check the progress of my work?” The idea being, of course, that it takes a tradesman to check up a tradesman's work. If the production officer's job was to check up individual men's work, that conclusion might be justified. It is the foreman's job, however, to check up the work done by everyone under his charge, he being the man from whom the production officer gets his information. In the first place the foreman of each shop is consulted in the drawing up of the schedules.
It is the schedule clerk's duty (in collaboration with the foreman), to prepare and issue schedules to suit each new job as it comes along. He does not have to be a clerk to do this, but he has to have analytical ability, in order that each job may be dissected into the component jobs that make up the whole. He has to ascertain from the foremen how long each job will take, and must chart out the plan so that each job will be done at the proper time. When any schedule contains features that have not before been encountered, the workshop manager is called in for consultation with the foremen and definite plans are devised to meet the situation.
Then, when the plan is made, the schedule clerk advises all foremen of their part and daily approaches them to see if it is done or not done with the one idea of avoiding delays to the plan.
Anyone acquainted with workshops knows, that owing to the complexity of the problem, the elimination of delays in the progress of work through the shops is a task of considerable magnitude, demanding the constant vigilance of the schedule clerk.
The production officer, on account of his knowledge of making plans and checking results, comes to know that certain things ought to be done, and could be done “on time.” He knows the number of days that are lost because of little delays (such as the non-arrival of some detail part) which results in the failure of the men to meet the conditions of the schedule.
His position commands him to take action in connection with every delay. The workshop manager (to whom he is a specialist assistant) and the foremen look to him to take action and obviate delays. Can he do it? He can do a great deal if accurate information is given him. Incorrect information invariably causes delay.
In the foregoing I have dealt with one phase only of a production officer's job. I have not dealt at all with the stores, shipping, costs, output and recording side of his work. The position calls for qualifications of a high order and covers such a range of subjects that, were not the officer full of initiative, enthusiastic, and able to withstand disappointments, he would not make a success of his work.
I want all to understand and appreciate these production jobs because every man in the workshops has an interest in assisting to get the work out “on time.” Let us all pull together and do our best work.
Mistakes we Make
1. The delusion that individual advancement is made by crushing others down.
2. The tendency to worry about things that cannot be changed or corrected.