Avoiding complexity of books, forms, etc. Arrangement of the superintendent's office. Progress of orders board. Its description and use. Handling correspondence. Superintendent's orders. Assistant superintendent's orders, or shop orders. Foreman's orders. The regular routine. Orders from the general manager. The usual practice in making out orders. Routine of orders. List of parts. List of gray iron castings. List of forgings. List of purchased parts and stock. Requisition for gray iron castings. Requisition for forgings. Requisition for materials. Requisition for purchased parts. Material and cost card. Time account. Accounting for labor. Time registering clocks. "Day time." "Job time." Distribution of time. Accounting for jobs continued and jobs completed. Checking the time account. Defective material and spoiled work. Special requisition necessary. Consumable stock, materials, tools, and supplies. The supply requisition. Fuel account. Few special books required. The "loose leaf" system.

In continuing the subject of machine shop management the endeavor will be to avoid as much as possible the modern tendency toward multiplication of account books, blanks, cards, and the like. In practice we are liable to burden ourselves with such a complexity of these things as finally to build up a system costing more for maintenance than it is worth, and what is of vastly more consequence, producing results that are far from showing a correct statement of the conditions. The author has in mind a recent instance of a shop containing less than seventy employees, while the office, stock, and shipping rooms contained over twenty employees operating an elaborate system, by which a small steel part produced by less than four hours' labor was billed at eleven dollars and a job of nearly three hundred dollars earned a profit of less than fifteen dollars, according to the showing of the so-called system of cost keeping. It,is such failures that throw discredit upon Cost Systems. It is true that any system of benefit must cost something, and it is equally true that any one system will not be suitable for all cases, but must be modified to suit conditions.

The offices are so arranged that the superintendent has a public and a private office. In the public office will be a large table convenient for spreading out drawings, and desks for the superintendent, the two assistant superintendents, and the chief inspector, as well as the usual filing cases, cases for technical publications, catalogues, etc. In the large, open room of the office building is ample space and desk room for the purchasing clerk, cost clerk, and two bookkeepers or assistants should their services be necessary, and a special enclosure for the time clerk, with a convenient pay window opening into the entrance passageway.

On the wall of the superintendent's public office is fixed a board, which, by the introducing and changing of small plugs, may represent in a graphic manner the progress of the work in the shops. This board is 37 inches wide and 27 inches high, and aside from the headings, etc., is ruled in 1-inch squares by white lines on the black surface of the board. The design is shown in Fig. 163. In the center of each square is a ⅜-inch hole. At the left are lettered the headings similar to those given. At the right are formed pockets in which may be placed small cards giving the months. These are used where orders run from one month into another and so on. Over the squares are figures for days of the month. Fitted to the holes is a series of wood or metal plugs, upon the ⅝-inch circular face of which may be gummed discs of white paper bearing the numbers of the orders in the works. These plugs are moved daily from one hole to another as the work advances. Should it be desirable to leave a continuous record of the day of the month on which an order arrived at each stage of progress, or passed through a certain department, there should be four or more columns of holes for each day of the month, and a sufficient number of plugs with the order number indicated upon them to leave in the several holes as the work advances.

The board shown is intended for regular orders for lots of machines or of assembled portions of them carried along together. A similar board may be used for tracing the progress of job or experimental orders. It will be the duty of the cost clerk to make regular daily rounds of the shops, preferably early in the forenoon, and note down in a small book carried for that purpose the facts necessary to make the changes on the board, and on his return to the office to change the plugs to represent the progress of the work. The author saw this plan used in a plant that included a number of buildings, some of them at quite a distance from the superintendent's office, and realized what a saving of time and annoyance it was and how many necessary questions it answered during the day.

The correspondence of the superintendent's office will usually be of a limited nature and relate chiefly to quotations and purchase of materials. Letters of the purchasing clerk will be signed by the superintendent. All correspondence with the general office will be by the superintendent, although he may refer such parts as he desires to heads of departments, through the assistant superintendent having charge of them.

Matters in reference to work done in and about the plant by outside parties should be arranged by correspondence, the nature of the work clearly specified, and if practicable a price should be fixed by the parties doing the work, and provision made for any extra work that may be found necessary. No contract for this class of work exceeding fifty dollars should be valid until approved by the general office.

The Progress of Orders Board.

Fig. 163. The Progress of Orders Board.