Where's Bubba and Why Can't We Make a Good Part Today?
In every die casting plant 20 years ago, there was usually one person; we'll call him Bubba, who could almost always make a good casting. The problem was the productivity of the operation was limited by the number of hours he could work. And what if he took a vacation? Bubba was the "black art" die caster. He could persuade the process to produce an acceptable casting by twisting knobs and various die spray techniques known only to him. Eventually he would train an operator in the technique and for a few hours they could continue to produce good castings. Then the next shift would arrive and a new recipe would be introduced and the quality would change, usually worse. When you were in a crisis for parts, Bubba would be called back on overtime to "fix" the problem, after a few minutes or hours, the process would produce good castings again, he would train that operator and you were good until the next shift change.
One of the most common requests I get is to assist in recruiting technical people to fill engineering and supervisory positions. While I certainly know many competent people in the industry, I don't believe the long term solution is to fill those positions by recruiting people from another city or state. The main objection I have is that of loyalty and longevity. The most loyal people in your company are the ones already working for you. Some employers have raised the objection that they don't want to train for someone else. For fear the employees, now more highly trained will abandon them in favor of a higher paying position elsewhere. Stories abound of people whose employer helped educate them and are now lifelong enthusiasts for that employer. Why not capitalize on their loyalty by helping them become more successful in your company.
In addition, I can provide customized versions of the above training. Training can take place on any shift or work environment from class room to shop floor.
The above article was first published in "Die Casting Management" magazine, December 2002.
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