This section is from the "Modern Machine Shop Construction, Equipment, And Management" book, by Oscar E. Perrigo. Also see Amazon: Modern Machine Shop Construction, Equipment, And Management.
This is very forcibly shown in cases where a business that "ought to pay" seems to drift along from year to year with scarcely any advance in methods or profits to its owners. Another man takes charge and perhaps astonishes every one by his seeming extravagance, but gradually order comes out of chaos, the expenses which at first staggered the good old conservative directors begins to tell, and in due time everything is in proper condition, every portion of the concern does its allotted part, each in harmony with the others, everybody is cheerful and satisfied, better work is produced, and the stockholders are getting their dividends. Why? Simply that the man is master of the business and works with a well-conceived plan. He knew from the beginning just what would be the result; he was not afraid to make radical changes; there was no patchwork about it. Every portion of his plan was carried out in its entirety. Two different parts do not make a complete whole, and to have several plans in mind and then attempt to carry out a portion of each is but to invite failure. And the invitation is usually accepted.
This is also true even in regard to minor operations in the same line. We must get such a grasp of the complete idea and plan in all its details that "from the beginning we can see the end".
One of our most successful designers of machinery always seemed to be a good deal of a laggard during the first stages of a new design and would draw and sketch and measure in what seemed a very desultory sort of a way. When remonstrated with for what "the boss" thought was wasting time, he used to say, "I don't want to make my drawing until I can shut my eyes and see the machine working." The complete conception of the design as it gradually forms in the mind is what is needed. And when the man had the ability to thus "see through" the whole design, the "working up" of the various component parts was to a great extent a matter of mechanical detail only.
So it is, or should be, in planning manufacturing operations. We must see the end from the beginning. This applies with peculiar force in the alterations of, or additions to plants already in existence, whether it be the changing on account of a different product to be manufactured, or of enlarging so as to increase the product. The plan should be comprehensive and provide for possible enlargements in the future, so that as each successive change is made we get nearer and nearer to the ideal of a completed structure that will be a credit and not a continual "eye-sore." Not only in appearance is this the proper method, but in the utility of the improvements made, and this again in proportion to the expense incurred.
If any "piecemeal" plan is adopted from time to time the result will be not only a failure to get the greatest accommodation out of the improvement, but to do so at an expense which is frequently lost by subsequent alterations of such a nature as to compel us to tear down a portion of the former work.
And this process is repeated again and again until the expense of successive changes, additions, and alterations will have cost more than to have built the whole structure new. Beside this we have a mongrel structure in which "the last state is worse than the first." It is frequently better to make new things than to patch up old ones; ofttimes it is cheaper also. And this lesson may be followed through all the operations of manufacturing with good results to the reputation of the man who is responsible for the plans as well as the success of the establishment and the dividends to the stockholders.
It was from considerations such as these that in the second chapter, on Construction, it was pointed out how the capacity of our manufacturing plant might be economically increased and at the same time work along the same general lines so that the enlarged structure would be but an extension or expansion of the original plan and the whole structure become as complete and symmetrical in all its proportions as if it were built at one time and from a complete set of plans from one well considered design.