Master Of Floor Space

Big Dog and I went over a proposed floor layout for our department. We’re moving across the county to one of our older factory sites. It’s a little confusing because we currently are located in building 2 Lower here and this move will dump us in building 2 Lower over there. Does that make any sense? Probably not. Anyway in our current location we have more square footage than we could ever possibly use. It’s been a luxury to spread out and get some distance between us. At the new spot it looks like they’re trying to cram us into the smallest amount of space imaginable. It’s not going to work well for us. Big Dog has already raised a number of important issues with management concerning this lack of available factory real estate but each time they send him away without listening to him. We realize it’s going to be a tight fit.

Each product line or department in this company is treated like it’s own little individual business. We have to pay the company every month for our electricity, phone bill, rent, etc. The rent is based on a fixed rate per square foot. Since things are financially in a downward spiral nobody wants to pay much for expenses if they can somehow get away with it. So that’s what is driving this mad dash to consolidate us into a tiny allocation of floor space. Less square feet for our department means cheaper rent. Corporate is also in a rush to close as many US manufacturing sites as possible to sell them for quick revenue. Can you say “Shareholder Value?” Super Geek sure can!

I’ve had to make some concessions in order for MI/EI to work. Big Dog asked me to give up some equipment. Instead of moving six technical workbenches I am going to abandon two of them here along with some office furniture and shelving. The other thing I just don’t have any room or use for is that damned pneumatic Ergo Lift piece of shit. That dangerous eyesore is going to be ditched here as well. I am not being given enough room anyway. I’m the only person currently working in the Button Up area so why in the hell would I need six workbenches for one employee? B-Rad is supposedly coming back soon as a temporary worker which is great news. That will take up one more bench and give us some desperately needed help.

A potentially serious problem with our new area is the floor tiles in that building are electrically hot. Real hot. We measured it for static electricity and resistance recently, and those tiles are poison for sensitive electronic devices. Even with a coating of special wax that is supposed to help electrically ground the tiles and dampen static discharges our test data shows it’s far out of tolerance. In order to stay in compliance with our internal company ESD policy and meet ISO:9000 requirements we must do something to find a solution. Ripping out the floor tiles to expose bare concrete would greatly reduce electrical resistance and static charge buildup. Nobody with management authority wants to take on the cost and pay a construction crew to do the work though. Typical.


~ by factorypeasant on October 31, 2006.

5 Responses to “Master Of Floor Space”

  1. Are all floor tiles hot? Linoleum better than cut stone? Vice versa?

  2. Wad- not all kinds of flooring are bad electrically for doing this kind of production work. bare concrete is better than tiles because you can’t really build up a static charge on it like you can some kinds of synthetic tiles. normally you’d plan ahead for this and outfit your factory with special ESD static dissipative flooring and have the maintenance crew wax it with a conductive polish.

  3. Check it out via slashdot
    They think outsourcing software is bad for security. I wonder what they’d think about outsourcing mission critical hardware?

  4. well, that was one of the concerns when we shifted instrument operations to malaysia. because it is a predominantly muslim country anti-american sentiments rose sharply after the iraq invasion.

    it would be very easy for employees who viewed the US negatively to sabotage units who were for US military customers. industrial spying would also be simple to commit.

    for example an IC chip could be placed to record frequency/power settings on a Signal Generator that was purchased as a military unit. when it returned at a later date for servicing that data could be quickly retrieved. normally there are what we refer to as ‘wipe’ procedures that erase sensitive information before returning a unit for service from a classified work area. but, if extra circuitry or components have been added to trap some of that information no one might ever know about it. we had very little direct supervision or oversight on our overseas manufacturing divisions so these kinds of troubling situations were entirely possible.

    outsourcing software code in certain circumstances is obviously a bad choice for similar reasons.

  5. Maybe you should write a follow-up article for business week.

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