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.
There should be a number of switches, at least one to each line of tracks, where cars may pass each other, so as to avoid lost time. At one end of the room a cross track may be laid, forming connections with the principal tracks by curves, or by turntables at the intersections.
When the character of the stock and material to be moved is not of sufficient weight to require tracks, the cars may be replaced by trucks of proper dimensions, their wheels being provided with rubber tires to avoid jar and noise. Both of these methods of transportation may be advisable, say a track through the center of the rooms and trucks serving the machines at the sides. The accessories for trucks and cars should, of course, be interchangeable.
Where there are no belts or other obstructions in the way, overhead trolleys may be arranged for transporting light stock and materials, with economy. These trolleys may run upon overhead I-beams, or beams of special form adapted to their use. These may also be used on the elevators and connect with the overhead system to good advantage. Switches are as readily used in this system as in floor tracks, but the same degree of adaptability of racks, boxes, or other special accessories will not be realized.
Particular attention has been given to this question of transportation as it is a matter where a good deal of useless expense may be saved if it is properly understood, rightly considered, and carefully planned and arranged.
By a perfectly arranged system of transportation much time of the employees at the machines may be saved, as well as some of the confusion incident to the employees going after their work or delivering what they have completed, as is sometimes the case.
Proper arrangements should be made for conveying small tools to and from the tool room. It is a most unnecessary waste of time to permit operatives to leave their machines to grind tools, or to go to the tool room to exchange them. Overhead carriers similar to the cash carriers in large stores may be utilized with considerable saving of time over the employment of a sufficient number of boys, as a sharp tool may be quickly sent to the machine and the dull one taken out and returned without the operator leaving the machine.
Should there be only one tool room to several floors, a vertical carrier may connect them with the overhead carriers, requiring only the services of a boy on each floor. This vertical carrier is simply a belt or chain running over a pulley at the basement and another at the top floor, and being provided with small trays, or buckets, which should be painted a different color for each floor, so that their contents may readily reach their proper destination. A speaking tube should connect the different floors.
One of the most important matters to be kept constantly in mind in the management of a factory is the pay roll; and in keeping this at a minimum, let us not forget that cheapness is not necessarily economy. And that cheap employees are often like cheap goods, ultimately expensive. Shop men of experience will all remember instances where the work done by a good man at a high rate actually cost less money than if done by an inferior man at half the pay, while the shop burden of expense was less on account of quicker work.
The one important point is to keep each class of employees on the work where they are the most profitable to the establishment, and ,this proposition involves conditions that can only be met by years of practical experience.
Again, employees should, as far as possible, be kept on the same class of work, as they thereby attain not only a great degree of speed, but accuracy in doing their work, which is not possible if they are changed from one kind of work to another. This is one of the most certain methods of increasing their efficiency.
A watchful care must be exercised over all time accounts, particularly of such employees as may be called upon to labor on different classes of work, or on different orders, to the end that no part of their time is charged to some general account when it is possible to assign it to a special one.
All employees should register their time on day time cards in a recording time clock, for the use of the time keeper in making up the pay roll, and again on job time cards (a separate one for each job, or order number), for the use of the cost clerk. These latter must, of course, aggregate the time indicated on the day time cards. They should be made out by the department foreman, who should see that they are properly recorded, and he should approve them with his O. K. stamp at the end of the week before they go to the cost clerk.
Within the limits of this chapter it is only possible to refer briefly to some of the more salient points in factory economy and efficiency, but it is hoped that a few hints given may nevertheless prove useful and practical to those having charge of these matters, and that if they are conscientiously worked out upon the lines herein suggested and those more minutely described in the previous chapters, with a watchful care to their adaptation to the prevailing local conditions, and to their success in actual practice day by day, the author is assured that their success will be amply demonstrated in other cases, as he has often found in his own experience under similar conditions and circumstances.