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ment equipped with machines of one type (as planers) and the next with another type (as lathes) and so on, is that while one department will be crowded with one class of work, say planer work, the next one will have their planers idle and the lathes will be crowded. The author remembers one shop arranged after these ancient ideas in which, by actual count, nearly two thirds of all the machines of the plant were idle at a time, and largely owing to the above causes, thereby throwing on each machine in use the expense burden belonging to three machines. This meant that the shop in general was equipped with about three times the number of machines necessary to do the required work by a modern organization plan, and therefore lost that much money unnecessarily.
By our plan all the machines of a class or type are located in one department, and the departments so arranged that in the natural succession of operations the work passes from the first department to the adjoining one whenever possible, and so continues until completed. Thus we get the maximum of continuous service from the smallest number of machines and have very few idle ones, consequently the minimum burden of this character.
By our plan of accounting for the cost of a given job we find it made up of five separate factors or charges, brought together by the cost clerk. These are: first, the cost of direct labor; second, the cost of material; third, the fixed charges; fourth, the expense burden on the machines used; and fifth, a due proportion of extra burden on account of idle machines.
The drawing room and pattern shop expenses require special notice. In the usual discussion of shop costs perhaps they have not had a fair share of attention. It often happens that both drawings and patterns are directly chargeable to certain jobs as are of special nature. In calculating these charges we go about it in the same general manner as in ascertaining the cost of jobs in the machine shop proper. That is, charging for time occupied, material used, and to this is added a burden of fixed charges and an expense burden consisting of its proper proportion of the cost of non-productive labor, lighting, heating, ventilating, and cleaning, which, in the drawing room, will be assessed by the total area of floor surface occupied by this department divided by the number of men employed, to ascertain the burden rate per man, which is to be added to the time and material cost.
In the pattern shop the same method is used for men whose work does not require the use of a machine. For those who work continuously at a machine the same method as employed in the machine shop will be used, the machine having a regular rating. Frequently the machines are used only for a fraction of an hour at a time, and the cost is hardly worth the time it will take to ascertain it. This charge will naturally fall into the fifth factor of
Under other circumstances both drawings and patterns are required for the regular output of machines or other articles manufactured. While these might in many instances relate only to a certain size or type of machine to be built, it would seem quite evident that the expense should be added to the fixed burden, for the same reason that we charge office furniture or shop fixtures, they becoming an asset of the establishment.
One of the machine shop departments about whose expense there seems to be much diversity of opinion is the tool room. It is liable to be employed on quite a variety of work, sometimes on orders for product to be sold, but more often for the making or repairing of tools, jigs, and fixtures for use on the machines in the manufacturing departments of the machine shop. When at work on regular orders, or any part of them, the charge will be the same as if the work were done in the machine shop proper, the machines in use here being rated in the same manner.
It is also clear that in making or grinding tools for lathe and planer work, cutters for milling and gear cutting, etc., and for making, altering, or repairing jigs and fixtures, we are adding so much to the equipment and its usefulness, and the expense should be borne by the machines in the machine shop on which they are used. Therefore it would seem proper that a percentage on first cost and for depreciation should be added in with the fourth charge in calculating the cost of a job. Of course this charge should only apply to the machine shop proper and the burden not carried to the accounts of other departments outside of it. It may be noted that the handling of the tool room accounts should be done cautiously, as a careless apportioning of the costs may lead to very serious errors.
The burden of idle machines in the tool room must be borne by the fifth factor in our cost account, for the reason that they are engaged either directly or indirectly in the production of the articles to be sold, the manufacture of which requires the use of the tools and appliances here made and maintained in useful condition.
Consumable tools and supplies such as files, waste, oil, etc., used on machines, drawn for use in the machine shop proper, will be classed as a part of the fourth factor of cost. This will not include waste and oil issued to the power plant, although the costs eventually find their way into the same group of charges.
The transportation of material or parts of machines being built, whether moved by shop railway, trucks, or cranes, becomes a charge on the job. In case of the use of trucks or the shop railway the machine rate, if we may so call it, has been considered already. In case of large traveling cranes, the crane is considered as a machine and rated accordingly. Where a man is required continually in attendance upon it his time may be charged to the
fourth factor of cost. The same may be said of sweepers and such helpers as are sometimes engaged on general work not properly chargeable to any particular job.
Cranes serving only one machine are considered as a part of that machine and so charged in fixing the machine rate. Electric motors by which machines are driven should properly be considered as a part of the power plant, whether they are operating individual machines or line shafts driving a number of machines.
The cost of all repairs on machines should be kept and once in six months 5 per cent of the amount accruing during that time added to the machine rates. If the cost of repairs is comparatively slight the account may run through the entire year. If a machine is practically rebuilt a portion of the amount charged off for annual depreciation must be restored to its value.
In calculating the cost of power, lighting, heating, and ventilating we must not forget that if there are some buildings somewhat isolated from the main buildings of the plant they should be assessed somewhat more per square foot of floor area on account of the added cost of conveying power, light, and heat to them. These conditions should be carefully investigated and the burden put where it belongs. Unless the distance is considerable these variations of cost will not be very important, yet our cost system should show their influence.
While our cost system is primarily intended to show the actual costs of all work done, it does, if wisely administered, show us other facts equally important in the successful management of a machine shop or manufacturing plant. For instance: if the cost of a certain job is noticeably higher or lower than usual we may easily ascertain why it is so, as we may consider the five factors going to make up the actual cost of the job and find at once in which of them has been the loss or gain. It will be readily understood that a high priced man may be the more economical, as the time occupied on the job will be less and consequently the machine burden less, while the reverse will be true with cheap help.
We may also see that with the work plentiful and the charge for idle machines running up, there is something wrong in the department where it occurs, and apply the needed remedy. It will show us which department is the more efficient and turns out its work the cheaper. It will show which department is the more economical in the use of consumable supplies. It will show the relative cost of machine repairs in the different departments. It will show in any of the departments where new machines are asked for, whether those already in use are profitably occupied, and if not, we may investigate the reasons for their not being used and the advisability of their removal to another department, and possibly the substitution of a machine better adapted to the special needs of the work.
These conclusions cannot be so ascertained by any of the prevailing methods of averaging all or even the principal part of the factors that go to make
up the total cost of the work done. By the use of the fifth factor, that of a proportion of extra burden on account of idle machines, we may get a good idea of what portion of the costs may be due to the fluctuations of business prosperity or depression. It may be argued that this system is intricate and expensive to administer. In proportion to the importance of the facts brought out this is not relatively true. If we really want the information in detail and in as accurate a form as the conditions will permit, we must pay for it in some way.
Often in the expensive school of sad experience we may know that something is going wrong, but we cannot assure ourselves of why, when, or where the trouble is located. By this plan we know all the facts worth knowing as we go along, and they cannot but be valuable aids in machine shop management. It will be noted that in this chapter we have not covered the matter of marketing the product, therefore the expenses of advertising and selling, as well as a proper percentage of profit, must be added to the costs as ascertained by this cost system in order to arrive at what shall be the selling prices of the goods manufactured. But as compared with properly ascertaining the actual factory cost of the product, this is a comparatively easy problem to solve.
THE DRAFTING ROOM
The department of design. The real work of the draftsman. Routine of the room. Gen
eral rules. Keeping the time. Drawing materials. Tracings. Poor materials is poor economy. Brown or black prints. Sizes of drawings. Too many sizes not desirable. Drawing cards. Desirable scales for drawings. Dates on drawings. Draftsmen's names on drawings. Shade lines. Dotted lines. Center lines. Dimension lines. Dimension figures. Conventional section lining. Titles. Plain lettering desirable. Mounting blueprints. System of machine symbols. Designation of machine parts. Marking patterns. Part numbers on drawings. Storing and filing drawings, tracings, and blueprints. Construction of drawers for holding drawings and tracings. Separating drawings and tracings into groups. Strawboard filing sheets. Indexing and filing drawings. Issuing and recovering drawings. Orders for blue or brown prints. Card system for filing, issuing, and recovering blueprints. Adhering to the regular system.
The drafting room is the department of design, where we expect ideas to originate for improving the product of the shop, as well as the methods of doing work. It should have the most accurate and efficient, and at the same time the simplest system and routine in its daily work. The draftsmen should be relieved as far as possible of clerical work. Their minds should not be burdened with a long list of symbols or complicated rules. They should be free to give their best attention to the real business for which they are employed, that of designing and drawing, and thus make the drafting room in fact, what it is often facetiously called by the machine shop men, “the brain room.” Therefore the men at the drawing tables should not be concerned about the making of blueprints, their mounting, their issue to the shop, or their recovery and storage. This is properly the duty of apprentices under the direction of the chief.
The routine of the room should be carried on quietly. Orders should be given only by the chief. Employees from other departments should be excluded unless sent by their superiors upon inter-department business. Draftsmen should not work over eight hours a day and should not be expected to sit at the board more than two hours continuously. If designing, this period may be too long, without the relaxation of walking about for a quarter of an