As I believe I have mentioned before, our day shift robot operators performance has been poor. Their shoddy work effort has been going on since April of ’93 and my supervisor, Shamu has basically refused to deal with the situation for almost a year. My boss is a classic example of an ineffective manager, one of the worst I’ve ever encountered at any job so far. Part of the problem is the fact that she does not get involved in issues concerning our area. She prefers to sit back and let us work things out for ourselves. Most of the time what actually happens is the day shift imbeciles do not see eye-to-eye with us on swing shift so the problem(s) go unresolved and each shift ends up doing their own thing.

Last Friday we had a line meeting. It started at two in the afternoon but I was late and did not show up until three. I found out later from fellow swing shift employees that the first hour of the meeting was trivial. A fact backed up by my boss. She told me she would sit down with me at four in the afternoon on Tuesday and fill me in on what I missed, but Tuesday came around and she never showed up. That’s proof to me nothing important came out of yet another line meeting.

The last half hour of the meeting was great though, and looking back on it I’m glad I showed up after all even though I was an hour late. What happened was this. Shamu got really angry with my area on a number of issues and most of them were directed at the day shift team. It’s about fuckin’ time. The one thing that got me provoked into opening my spiteful mouth of evil was when the boss hit on the day shift knuckleheads not tracking the que of work needed for the Racking area. Unfortunately, to fully explain the situation I have to go into detail about our manufacturing process so you can understand the importance of our que system.

In the Printed Circuitboard business here at Bill and Dave’s we rely on a que system rather than a simple supply and demand system. PC boards are sent out onto the floor from PC Stores in lots of a half dozen boards in each box. Each box has a color coded card on it with a tagging system broken down into letters of the alphabet and numbers one through six. This is all done for a critical part of the manufacturing process called Royonics. I’ll get to Royonics later. What’s important is that before I start a box of boards I have to go over to the Racking area and take a quick inventory of which incoming shelves are empty or low on boards. This way we give them the work that’s really needed out on the floor rather than overloading them with stuff they can’t use.

When the boards come out to my area, we mask the circuit side of each board with a liquid that when it’s baked for two hours becomes a hard vinyl. We then send the boards to the Racking area and those people look at their que to fill work on the Royonics machines. The rackers have to bust ass their entire shift. They take a box of boards and have to mount each board or series of boards in aluminum frames. They look like a picture frame you’d hang on your wall. So they mount in support arms and frame up the boards. Once they’ve got them secured in the frames they slide them into rolling carts that can handle about 20 frames. The carts are labeled for a certain Royonics machine, and all the boards they racked up in the cart came off their incoming shelves are also labeled the same way, let’s say A-6. A-6 corresponds to one particular Royonics machine out there on the shop floor.

The Royonics machines are rather strange. They look like a giant video game, like the ones you’d have to climb inside to play it. Each Royonics machine has a tall swivel mounted chair and an overhead shield that blocks out light from the ceiling. A Royonics operator will take a Racked set of boards from their cart and place it in a tray inside the Royonics machine. The operator then runs a program and hits a button to cycle the program ahead one step. Each time the operator cycles ahead, a small door will slide open in front of them to reveal a tray of components. Simultaneously, a pin-point bright light will shine down from overhead to a specific point on the PC board. This lets the operator know where to place a component. When they hit the button again, the light will move off to another point on the surface of the board, and a new tray will open up with different parts in it. It’s all very slow work for the Royonics operators. Because of the complexity of some circuitboards, one Royonics machine and operator might only get through three lots of boards in an entire eight hour shift. On one single PC board there might be hundreds of components that need to be insterted by hand.

So, for example let’s say the X-2 Royonics machine has a que of three lots of boards. That means the Racking area has room for three lots of X-2 boards on their incoming shelf, and my area has room for three lots of X-2 boards on our incoming shelf from PC Stores. Everytime we make a delivery of lots of boards to Racking, we are supposed to take a physical inventory of what Racking needs based on the que and then we are supposed to work to fill the holes on their incoming shelves. At an absolute minimum, we are supposed to deliver to Racking every two hours and then fill out a que inventory sheet so we know what to work on over the next couple of hours. Our day shift imbeciles don’t bother to check Racking to see what they are low on, and they don’t bother to do much work to begin with. That’s how all this trouble gets started. Typically, the day shift losers might fill out a que inventory for Racking when they first get into work in the morning and then they do one right before we show up on swing shift, just to make it look like they’ve been doing something. They are damn lazy.

One evening, a supervisor from an area clear over on the other side of the building came into my area to complain about the lack of work arriving in her area on a daily basis. She apparently had noticed the uneven flow of work coming into her department some time ago and took it upon herself to investigate what was going on. When she got to our area she discovered a backlog of work for her line on our shelves, and also noticed that our que inventory sheet had only been done once that day. She blew her stack. So this manager I guess ripped into my boss sometime before our line meeting where I opened my big mouth. Shamu got busted because she didn’t take action against our dayshift and I have no sympathy for her. Anyway, Shamu brought this incident up in the line meeting and I had to say something. I just couldn’t resist. In front of fourty people I bluntly said, “The lack of work from our dayshift has been going on since April of 1993.” Everything in the room just stopped. It got so quiet in the room that if someone had coughed everyone would have jumped ten feet out of their chairs. Someone else who had their hand up to say something, put it down. A couple of people started snickering. Two of our dayshift losers silently shook their heads in disgust. One or two other people in the room stared at me as if to say, “You speak the truth. That was badass.”

Carefully choosing her words, my boss spoke. “I know, Factory Peasant. I don’t mean to start a day shift versus swing shift scenario but something needs to be done. Maybe at this point we can have swing shift show the day shift what it is that’s done differently, because whatever it is, swing shift works.” She was implying that swing shift gain control over day shift’s antics. When she finished speaking I felt like I was ten feet tall. None of the day shift miscreants spoke. To do so would have been futile. They just got a serious beat-down.


~ by factorypeasant on September 27, 2004.

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