Referring to the Chart, Fig. 2, it will be noticed that the rectangular figures representing different offices, departments, or officials are connected by lines. These are commonly called lines of authority, and a careful study of them will show in what manner and through what channels the orders of an official pass to the employees for whose work he is responsible.
This system will be rendered somewhat simpler by reference to the Chart, Fig. 3, which shows the path or official channel of communication and authority from the Superintendent down to the workmen. It also emphasizes the fundamental idea of all official business passing through the officials in charge of intermediate departments.
Thus, if the Factory Manager desires a certain thing done, he does not give the order to one of the workmen, nor to a foreman, but to the Superintendent. The Superintendent will give his orders to the foreman of the department wherein the work is to be done. If this is a department in which there are gang bosses, the Foreman will give his orders to the proper gang boss, who will select a suitable workman, or as many of them as may be necessary, and instruct them as to the work, and will personally see that it is performed promptly and in the proper manner. When the work is completed, he will report the fact to the foreman, who will in turn report to the Superintendent, who informs the Factory Manager that his orders have been executed.
This process may seem unnecessarily complicated, and in consequence it is sometimes referred to as red tape. It is, however, necessary to have a well-defined and properly understood system and channel for all routine business, some of the reasons for which are as follows:
It has been said that "no man can serve two masters/' and this is quite true in all questions of shop management. Every loyal workman has learned by precept and tradition to look to his immediate superior for all orders and instructions relating to his work, and he naturally and properly resents any attempt to ignore or belittle his legitimate "boss".
As the efficiency of the workmen depends to a great extent upon their loyalty to the management, and as that loyalty can be secured and maintained only by a spirit of justice and fair-dealing to all, including officials and workmen, all authority and responsibility should be sharply defined and properly limited, to the end that the business and work may proceed in an orderly and efficient manner; that all officials and workmen may know when they are within their proper limit of rights; and doing their duties without fear of overstepping their due bounds or interfering with the rights and privileges of their fellows.
Nearly all rules are subject to some exceptions, and the above have theirs. The discipline of the shop, or what is sometimes referred to as the police regulations, are expected to be enforced by all officials at all times.
Two of these exceptions are of such a general nature and application that they are here noted.
Any official noticing an infraction of the discipline of the plant may call the attention of the employee offending, without regard to the department in which he works, and require him at once to cease violating the rules.
But the official should, as soon as possible, report the matter to the head of the department in which the offending employee works.
Any official noticing work being wrongly done, or material wasted, or machinery obviously injured, or the safety of the workmen, the building, or the machinery endangered, may peremptorily order the action to cease, and at once report the fact to the head of the department or to the Superintendent, as he may judge proper.
For ordinary communications other than General or Special Orders, Production Orders, letters, etc., a written form should be habitually used. The usual form is shown in Fig. 4. These forms are put up in pads of alternate sheets of white and light-tinted paper, the former being perforated at the top so as to be readily torn out while the tinted sheet remains fast at the stub. Both sheets are printed with the same form, and all are serially numbered in pairs of one white and one tinted sheet. Carbon paper is used, the white sheet being written upon and the tinted one receiving the carbon impression. Each official is supplied with these pads, and by their use he always retains a copy of any memorandum or communication he makes to another official or department. The serial numbers are intended to aid in the identification of any memorandum that may have become somewhat illegible. The use of these blanks saves any misunderstanding that might occur from giving and receiving verbal orders; and serves to prevent errors and mistakes, and to fix the responsi-bility.for their occurrence upon the party in error.
Fig. 4. Form for Ordinary Official Communications. A carbon copy is made on tinted paper.
The spirit of shop management should always be a spirit of leadership. This cannot usually be obtained unless the manager possesses natural ability as a leader. Successful military chieftains are examples of this condition. They lead the men instead of driving them, and the result is a condition of enthusiastic loyalty.
It is also quite as necessary that a leader should be a practical man with sound technical training and practical experience in the business which he undertakes to manage. If he is not thus equipped for his duties, the facts soon become apparent to his subordinates, and his reputation suffers accordingly. The workmen lose confidence in his leadership, and lack enthusiasm in the performance of their duties, going about their work in a listless and perfunctory manner that is very detrimental to the efficiency of the plant.
Still another quality necessary in the successful manager, is the ability to judge men and their capacities for various duties. To get always the right man for the position, the machine, or the job, is a valuable trait in any man who is to direct the work of even a moderate-sized establishment. The larger the plant and the more diversified the business carried on in it, the more valuable and indispensable this characteristic will become. The manager who is continually or frequently changing his subordinate officials, and consequently producing changes in the working force, will always find his duties arduous, and will also find it well-nigh impossible to get the plant up to the degree of efficiency that is to be reasonably expected. The volume of output will continually fall below the normal point, and the quality of the work will also deteriorate. The work of management should be a constant upbuilding of the force, and of development and education along the lines of advancement in the special output of the concern. This cannot be carried on if the composition of the force, or the officials who handle it, are in a transition state of change, doubt, and uncertainty.
There is, on the part of many officials having charge of men, a propensity to interfere too much with workmen and their work, and thus to hinder rather than help them. While it is quite true that every official from the Gang Boss up to the Factory Manager can, at various times, help the workmen in their allotted tasks by timely advice and suggestions, it is also true that this is a matter that can be easily overdone, until it becomes an annoying nuisance and unnecessarily interferes with the men in the discharge of their legitimate duties.
Workmen are quick to discern when suggestions and advice are well meant and instructive, and when they come as a kind of veiled criticism. The official who permits himself to indulge in this sort of dictation soon falls into a practice of nagging that is most exasperating to the men. It is a practice that first weakens and then destroys the official's influence with the men, who obey only from necessity. When this condition exists, the working efficiency of the force is at a very low ebb.
On the other hand, really helpful advice and suggestions, made in a cheerful manner and from a quite apparent desire to assist workmen, will usually meet with a quick and loyal response that argues well for the efficiency of the workmen.
Another point on the road to success, is a patient and interested listening to suggestions that workmen have to make, even though it is on trivial matters. It should always be borne in mind that the workman laboring day after day on the same class, and often on the same kind of pieces, of work, is in a position to discern and to study out many minor improvements in tools and methods which are valuable. A kindly hearing accorded him, the adoption of such suggestions as are practical, with some substantial reward for his study, will encourage not only him but other workmen to study their work and endeavor to find better and more efficient ways of doing it. Thus an active and interested spirit of loyalty is brought about that is one of the most valuable assets of the plant.
The successful manager is he who is enabled to unite his working force of subordinate officials and workmen in a complete and loyal organization, all working for the common good and for the success and prosperity of the concern. Having gained this condition, the question of efficient and economical manufacturing is practically as well as theoretically solved.