The Gill Corporation’s early success was based on our ability to do wet layup of polyester cargo liner. A good manufacturing company is always looking for ways to improve quality and productivity and even in the early days we were a good company.
Someone came up with the idea of building a “laminating machine”. It would replace a lot of the hand labor and reduce our cost of manufacturing. The machine was to be installed on our main production line – Line 2.
A mechanical engineer in our Engineering Department designed and built the machine. It was installed on Line 2 and as the supervisor of the Line I was to assist the engineer with proving out the machine and the idea.
The Engineer, the line lead operator and I worked on the machine for several days; with the engineer directing the implementation. We were not having any success, the engineer finally gave up and I took over.
I continued to oversee the “shake-down cruise”, but without any success. Finally, the idea occurred to me to assign the task of getting the machine to work to the Line #2 Lead (Pete Ortega). To my surprise and shame (because I should have thought of this much earlier), Pete got the machine to work.
It never worked well enough to put into our process, but I learned a valuable lesson – If there’s a problem with the product or process –ask the operator. They know what is going on.
Many times, over the years, I have seen specialists called in to solve problems and they try to do it by themselves. The best idea is to ask the operator and then work the problem from that angle.
The Gill Corporation
4056 Easy Street
El Monte, CA 91731-1087 USA