The present understanding of the term Shop Management is quite different from the sense in which it was used years ago. Formerly the management of the shop was vested in a superintendent whose duties consisted in purchasing material, inspecting it when it was received, turning it over to the foreman, and in a general way looking after the work as it was being performed. In addition to these duties, he frequently handled the selling of the product, the collection of accounts, and the proper provision for meeting the pay-roll on pay-days. He also had a general supervision over, the grounds and buildings and their care and maintenance, as well as the provision for power, lighting, and heating. By this arrangement of duties, it will be seen that comparatively little time was devoted to actual shop operations, and much time to different lines of duties that might more economically and often quite as efficiently be performed by assistants at a much lower rate of pay.
In the modern methods of shop management, all these things are changed. The specialization of workmanship, the division of duties, the limiting of responsibilities - each restricted within narrow limits by sharply defined regulations - have reduced the variety of operations of the workman, and of responsibilities and duties of the men who direct manufacturing work.
We find the purchasing of material and supplies in charge of a Purchasing Agent. We find these purchases checked by a Receiving Clerk, turned over to a Storekeeper, and subject to examination by a regular Inspector. They are then put into the store-room, whence they are drawn as needed for the different departments, the foremen of which sign definite orders for such kinds, quantities, and qualities as may be needed, specifying the purposes for which they are to be used or the particular orders to which they are to be charged. When issued, they are receipted for by the person receiving them. All this is conducted with the same regard for business rules as if the foreman were making a purchase on his own account and paying for the goods. We find the selling of the product in the hands of an expert Sales Manager, often assisted by a corps of engineers, draftsmen, bookkeepers, and clerks, numbering more persons than the entire factory's force of non-producers twenty years previously. A Credit and Collection Department attends to all collections, and the Treasurer and Cashier see to it that the money for the pay-roll is on hand when wanted. A Production Engineer regulates the volume of work going into the shop, and the sequence of mechanical operations by which each piece or part is to be machined and perfected. An assistant to the Superintendent looks after the condition and maintenance of grounds and buildings, yards, and the transportation facilities of the plant.
By these developments of the system of management into a division of duties and responsibilities, the time, attention, and abilities of the Superintendent may be devoted to his legitimate purposes of superintendence or supervision, planning and directing the work of the assistants and heads of departments.