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Directors, whose head is the president of the company, and whose executive officer is the general manager. This group includes the administrative and financial departments of the entire establishment.
The second factor comprises the manufacturing plant, whose head is the works manager or superintendent, and includes the purchase of stock and supplies, the care of the grounds and buildings, and the entire process of manufacturing and shipping the product.
The third factor includes the advertising or publicity department, and the sales department, each with its own manager, and frequently presided over by the vice-president.
While each of these departments are of prime importance in all respects, it is the second that particularly concerns us in this work. Nevertheless it may be interesting and instructive to present, in Fig. 162, a graphic diagram representing the division of duties and responsibilities as generally arranged for establishments such as we are considering, and as representing the management of our model manufacturing plant.
This will show the regular channel for all official orders and communications, as well as, inversely, the channel through which all reports go through intermediate officers to their proper and ultimate destination. It also shows the proper relation of one department with another, of certain groups of departments with other groups, and in a general way the entire plan of organization and management. A careful study of these important relations is recommended to the earnest student of machine shop and factory organization, management, and economics.
Now a few words of practical common sense on the subject of the successful management of men from the standpoint of personal experience and observation during years of actual shop work and supervision.
If we search diligently and conscientiously for the secret of success in management, whatever may be the importance of the responsibilities, from the president down to the "gang boss,” we shall find that it lies principally in the ability of the manager to find the right man “who can do things,” and then let him alone so as to give him an opportunity to accomplish the duty devolving upon him. It often requires less talent and genius, not to say common sense and good judgment, to find the man to "carry the message to Garcia,” than to keep your hands off and let him do it in his own way.
Again, the business may have reached the limit of its expansion under a certain man because the man isn't big enough or broad-minded enough to let his subordinates “do things.” He is forever interfering with the routine and methods of his manager, and every one else, for that matter, and so individuality is lost, efficiency lowered, and the value of the man and the force greatly impaired. Thus the effort is made “to please the old man” rather than to
FIG. 162. – A Graphic Chart, showing the System of Organization and Management of the Modern American Shop or Manufacturing Plant.
improve the management, the condition, and the conduct of the business. Good ideas of experienced men are smothered by objections, the results “damned by faint praise," or "tinkered” until their identity and usefulness is entirely lost and their author discouraged in making others in the future.
Another equally reprehensible and quite as disastrous propensity is for “the old man” to make periodical raids through the establishment, grumbling and criticising right and left “without just cause or provocation,” after the manner of the proverbial “bull in the china shop,” and with equally unpleasant results to the employees and to the business.
While we are ready to admit with a somewhat prominent writer that there is a good deal of “frenzied finance” abroad in the land, we have not far to go to find equally prominent instances of frenzied mechanics, in which there is much more noise than good sense, good judgment, or knowledge of human nature, as represented by the large majority of employees in machine shops and manufacturing establishments generally.
The best and most successful managers are the leaders and not the drivers of men. The quiet and methodical manager naturally creates an atmosphere of loyalty and discipline among his subordinates, who obey his orders with alacrity and good faith. Hence, good results flow naturally from their united efforts, while the nervous, belligerent manager with the “billy-goat" propensity of “butting in” on any and all occasions, not only keeps “rattled” himself, and so in no condition of mind to properly decide important questions, but is an important factor in producing a state of incompetency, disorder, and consequent failure.
Let us now proceed to consider the management of a model machine shop or manufacturing plant in a general way, leaving the scheme of the different departments in detail for later consideration.
Probably no one will take exception to the proposition that we shall have reached the perfect system of management when we shall have devised methods by which we may produce the greatest amount of good work with the smallest number of employees and the least amount of friction and irritation among them.
How this is to be accomplished is worthy of the most patient investigation, for the question of the management of machine shops and manufacturing plants is one of many phases. There are several general propositions in this connection that should be briefly stated. Among them are the following:
First. Any reasonable system is better than no system at all. There are shops to-day running, or trying to run, in which there is really no system worthy of the name, and things are allowed to drift along from day to day “by guess and good luck,” just as they did forty years ago, and if we inquire why this or that thing is done so and so, we get the stereotyped reply, "That's
the way we've always done it.” One of these days these shops will “wake up and find themselves dead,” as the Irishman said, or they will adopt some kind of a system that will be of modern brand.
Second. The adoption of a part of a system, or a system for one part of the works and not for the remainder, “just as a trial to see how it will work,” is practically no better than no system at all.”
Third. The endeavor to adopt a system composed of parts of various systems, grafted upon, added to, dovetailed together, and patched until they lose all their identity, like Joseph's coat of many colors, is but to invite a dismal failure. Many a good plan has been killed and its author humiliated by adopting it piecemeal.
Fourth. To be successful the system must be complete and comprehensive, clearly defining every regulation as to the progress of the work, the method of accounting for time and materials, records of pay and efficiency of employees, and the duties and limitations of authority of every person concerned, from the manager down to the errand boy, so that the fewest cases may arise that have not been provided for in the system, and that there may be as much certainty and distinctness as in the regulations of the United States Army. Then we shall realize the highest efficiency and the least amount of friction.
Fifth. The system must be carried out in every particular as it is planned, unless there are very serious reasons for a change. Of course, even the Constitution of the United States can be amended, but only for weighty reasons, and “while it stands, it goes.” Shop regulations should be on the same basis, and all employees will soon come to respect them, and to realize that they operate just as much for their welfare and protection as for the benefit of the owners of the plant; that so long as they are obeyed in a spirit of faithful service the employee is always right; and that when they are disobeyed through carelessness, a desire to shirk duty, or even from the “smart Aleck” notion that some employees get into their heads, there is a good prospect for trouble to the offending parties.
Sixth. The man who is to manage the administration of the system must be strong, able, honest, fearless, and positive. He must be strong in carrying out the system that has been adopted; otherwise his weakness will be soon discovered by his subordinates and the “ backbone” of the system will be broken. He must be able, both by education and experience, to understand and appreciate all the details of the business. Of course, he must be honest in all his dealings with his subordinates as well as with the owners. He must be fearless, giving his orders where and when and to whom they are necessary and take the responsibility for their effect when faithfully obeyed. Hesitation, vacillation, or indecision will very materially injure his authority. To give an order and, when it has been obeyed faithfully and failed of the
object sought, to blame those who executed it, is to cause his men to lose faith, not only in his ability but in his sincerity. And there is only one thing more damaging to the administration in the minds of the employees than this, and that is to show a lack of faith in their ability and honesty. This will always prove discouraging and cause the men to lose interest in the successful progress of the shop.
Such being the general conditions under which we must organize, we may proceed with the further consideration of the system by which our plant is to be managed. We must first know what we are to plan for. It is assumed that the plant and all its accessories have been designed and equipped for manufacturing only. Therefore, with the exception of the shipping facilities, the entire establishment is devoted to turning out and shipping what it is directed to make. To accomplish the results we seek, we must go about the matter with a definite and comprehensive plan. It will not do simply to decide some of the main features and leave the others to be determined as we go along. If we do so we shall probably be surprised to find that some of the minor matters will loom up as important features when we least expect trouble.
We will consider the scheme of organization. In deciding what plan is best we should look to efficiency as the first requisite. This will include the question of making the most of the services of each man in a responsible position; it will include the consideration of a plan that shall have the least friction between the different officials in the routine work of the shop. It will seek a proper division of responsibility, so that if anything goes wrong we may at once determine what man was responsible for the lack of attention to duty. It should be a plan that will produce a maximum of result with a minimum of effort. Every man must know exactly what his duties are, what are the limits of his authority, as well as from whom he takes and to whom he may give orders.
It will be understood, of course, that the entire management of the plant is under the charge of the superintendent and that all orders from the general office go to him direct, and that there is no interference with any other official of the shops by the general manager or any one in the general office. This sort of interference “over the head” of the superintendent will break up the discipline of any shop, and it should never be indulged in by the authorities in the office or permitted by the superintendent. It should be the same with all officials in the shop. No official or employee should accept any order unless coming to him in the regular way through the next higher authority.
We think it has never been seriously questioned, that the organization of the United States Army, with its division of responsibilities, the provisions for accounting for all property handled, and for ascertaining the final results, as