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Failure to Introduce Interior Transportation---The Cost of the Apparatus Soon Paid by the Saving in Labor---How Things Move in the Ford Factory
By HERBERT E. SUMNER
HFN an efficiency or an industrial engineer pat in charge of some big industrial operation, he first makes a careful study of all the general conditions, and after he ed that, he then makes a study rung of the work, then the
of material and men, and then esiming of machinery in order to fer lineet production or in other do two operations at once with hese machine if it is possible to do Ie greatest waste in any manufacFant (outside possibly of the Tise of material itself) is the waste in or transportation. The latter are Bagless words until you look beneath surface. When you do, however, you are startled at the losses that are being rred in the daily operations. Recently THE FURNITURE MANUFACTRER AND ARTISAN published a very
inspector where formerly six were employed. In another plant in a large city, a manufacturer had practically no room for piling his lumber except in the cellar of his building. He therefore was obliged to buy most of his lumber from the retail yards, except, of course, an occasional car or two direct from the mill. The writer told this man of the car system of handling, with the result that a little later on this manufacturer made arrangements with the railroad, which for certain considerations, ran a switch down an incline to the level of his cellar, and today this man unloads from the freight cars onto small cars, which he pushes away into bins. As a result he saves over $3 a thousand in his costs and handling. He has a kiln on the same level, and after kiln-drying, these small cars are brought up by elevator to the cutting rooms. There is another manufacturer in Buffalo who employs the truck system instead of the track system, but this, to the writer's mind, is not as efficient as the other two examples which have been given.
HERBERT E. SUMNER
worthy article by Alexander T. Deinzer, who the subject exceedingly well, in particular .. handling of lumber into a plant. He gave a--trations the lumber conveyors and showed that tre men in about ten hours accomplished the handling of a carload of lumber which was formerly done by five me, and which took two days. The illustration is especially god for the reason that very few manufacturers today
..ze what it costs them to handle this raw material, and ... is one of the big problems in interior transportation. The writer has several plants in mind that have solved * problem to efficient advantage. There is one he knows Priolarly well, in one of our Eastern cities. About three war ago, the head of this concern suddenly realized the ag of efficiency and at once proceeded to apply it in "(... polit. As he used from one to two million feet of ter annually, a saving of even $1 a thousand in anding his lumber would more than pay him for the nation of any additional capital equipment that he ment have to put in. He proceeded to install a track
tem throughout his entire plant. Today, when a carload ofumber arrives, it is immediately unloaded from the fright car onto two small cars-one car is utilized for *** 14 and 16 feet lengths, while the other car is used for shorter lengths. Two men unload a car, superinded, of course, by a high-class inspector. These small Cars are then pushed along under the big lumber sheds, w they are left until ready to be used. All of their te se piled with strips three feet apart. When lumber ...d for the kilns it is pushed from under the lumwd into a kiln. After it is dried, it is then pushed **** shop next to the first cutting-up machine. You
have only two handlings-the loading on the re, and the unloading in the shop. Formerly, tem was put in, this manufacturer unloaded at the lumber on hand trucks, then put it in Amen ready for kiln drying, it was unpiled and ed on the kiln trucks. You can see for yourself 2 linge were saved in this new method. 1x men now used in the yard, outside of
This saving in handling is one of the big principles of efficiency; but few manufacturers realize the losses that are incurred yearly by improper methods. Too many manufacturers try to cheapen their product with poor materials, when they could make their profits alone on the saving in the handling of their material.
Too often it is the head of a concern and his policy that keeps the whole organization from forging ahead, and as a result the entire business suffers. It was but recently that the writer was shown the plans of a very extensive factory, which is now in the process of construction, and was asked to give his views on certain efficiency principles which could be applied to this plant. After a careful study the writer saw that they had their machines in perfect alignment for efficiency routing, but that they had neglected absolutely the biggest factor-the handling of their lumber. The writer brought this to notice, and after considering the matter the head of this concern decided that the trucks and small cars would cost too much at the start, and that for this reason they would not be put in. Yet the writer distinctly showed them where in six months' time they would have paid for this new equipment in saving on the handling of the lumber alone. The Dry Kiln May Help
Again this manufacturer decided that a kiln which would dry lumber in half the time would cost quite a little more than the old-fashioned kiln, which he now uses, and which takes about three weeks to dry lumber perfectly. This is a case where the policy of the head of this concern alone will hold back the whole organization from getting ahead. There will come a time, when business returns to normal again, that this manufacturer will be hard-pressed for kiln-dried lumber, for the reason that he will not be able to dry it fast enough, and he will then have to try to buy kiln-dried lumber to keep his plant going.
Interior transportation does not alone relate to the
handling of the big items. It takes in also the small partly manufactured pieces as well. The writer went through a large factory in New York City recently, and watched a number of men at work machining small pieces for interior piano action parts. These machines were grouped along in line. The operator at the first machine took the small pieces from a barrel on his left, finished his part of the work, and then dropped the piece into a barrel on his right. When the barrel was about half full it was moved down the line to the next machine and the empty barrel from the latter brought back to the former. This same operation continued along this line of machines to where the last operator completely finished machining the piece. Now just look at the waste in this part of the plant alone. There is too much money tied up in the stock in these barrels. Little inclined chutes should be built so that when the first operator completes his part of the work on the piece, instead of dropping it into the barrel, he should put it on the chute, where by gravity it will run within the reach of the next operator, and so on down the line. The writer figured this out for the head of this plant, who thought so well of it that he ordered the chutes built immediately, and put in operation. Another instance in this same factory; storage of lumber in New York City comes to a pretty good figure. these same people were piling their lumber about a block from their factory and yet almost their entire cellar was empty. The writer suggested the track system here, and showed these people how they could do away with their storage ground. The equipment was ordered a few days after the writer had visited this plant, and is now being installed. Do you know, it seems a big thing, but most people do not realize yet that efficiency is after all only common sense applied to anything that you do; yet it generally takes an outsider to come in and tell you how to run your own business. The illustrations the writer has given are things that could have been thought out by anyone in these plants, yet the broad principles of efficiency always seem to be overlooked. The larger the plant, the greater can be the saving, and the more indirect the production. In other words, the greater the number of operations per piece, the greater can be made the saving.
The Item of Transportation
An industry in New York State had grown to such large proportions that they were forced to buy an additional plot of ground and build some distance from the original plant. The product that is made is not over three feet in any dimension. The factories were planned very efficiently, and as a result the output was increased over three times; yet with all their efficient workings, they were hauling from the old factory to the new, and this item of transportation ran up into a large sum annually. One day an efficiency engineer saw this trucking, and went to interview one of the heads of the factory. result of his talk, he saved them their item of transportation between the two plants, and very shortly afterward they installed the trolley system, which was simply a wire cable stretched between the two plants. Now, all day long there is an endless procession of the rough product going along the wire by gravity to the other plant. A return wire brings the trolly runners back to the old plant. It is a simple thing, and the capital equipment necessary for the installation was but a small fraction of the annual cost of the former transportation.
Gravity is one of the greatest forces in the universe, yet but few manufacturers realize its importance, and make it work for them. There is another factory in New York State where there is but one elevator which goes to the top of the building. The lumber is cut up in the top
of the factory, and from that time on every part of the work slides to the next machine, or to the next floor, and the men do not move away from their machines or their work all day long. The writer has seen the figures of the saving in cost alongside that of former times in this plant and the saving is tremendous.
In one of the largest industrial plants the item of the removal of the scrap waste amounted to a large sum yearly, because it necessitated men to shovel the scrap steel into buckets which were then hoisted by an electric crane, and deposited on other cars. An efficiency engineer, put on this plant, did away with the bucket, and installed in its place a large electro-magnet, with the result that in this item alone, they saved in the cost of the two shovelers an expense of $1,500.00 a year. Besides that the work was done in half the time by the electro-magnet, and the man in charge of the crane had time to help out in other things as well.
The Ford Motor as an Illustration
The writer cannot resist the temptation of illustrating part of the efficient management in the Ford Motor Car shops, which he regards as our most efficiently maintained plant. The work in this plant is steadily moving, and every man does his work walking. He takes six or eight steps and is done; then he takes six or eight steps back and begins again. To quote from the New York Times Analyst: “In almost every direction one sees, in the Ford plant, a problem in transportation solved. There is an overhead railway with its own management, and stoff, the equipment of which consists of swinging electric cars which are forever speeding through the air, clanging gongs. Also chutes wherein the force of gravity is utilized to deliver things from one place to another. That principle is only beginning to be built, and is to be carried much further if possible. The point is to make things transport themselves,' says Ford. To lift a thing off the floor costs a definite amount of energy, that may then be utilized in many cases to transport the same thing a considerable distance. When you think of 1,500 engines a day, weighing 100 pounds each being lifted off the floor to the level of a man's waist, and put down again every time the engine block is subject to another operation, you get an idea of the amount of energy that is commonly wasted in shop practice. Besides, moving things about on the floor wears out the floor. Anything wears out very fast; so Ford says: 'We'll keep things off the floor.' In the foundry there is a big lesson in transportation. There is overhead a great oval track. Depending from the track, and spaced closely, are hangers which terminate in little platforms, two feet from the floor and just big enough to hold a mould. These hangers are always traveling. On one side are the moulders who get their sand from the chutes, form their moulds, and place them on the little platforms. That is all they do. The moulds then travel around to the men who pour the metal. It comes to them in crucibles swung to an overhead track. Then one man as a mould passes him, takes off the top; that is his whole work. Another dumps the casting; that is all he does. You think of children making mud pies on the floor of a merry-go-round.
"A plant so wonderfully incorporated where every man's material is kept waiting, where every operation is timed and spaced with reference to the sequel, and where one department cannot get ahead of another without unkeying the whole shop-a plant like that cannot grow on the edges; it has to grow from the middle out. Each time an increase of the plant is wanted (which may be several times a year), it has to be reorganized throughout. Production for months ahead is estimated, and the plant is keyed to that. It cannot be increased at all without a
reorganization, except through intensification, evenly all around, of the human effort.
"That leads to the man factor; no man seems to work very hard, but every man is working all the time. If he gets a little behind in the work, he is not comfortable, because the man behind is crowding. Ford's new plant is composed of seven separate structures under one roof, with six railroad tracks running all the way through. That greatly simplifies the problem of internal transportation. The objection to a large plant in which all the material comes in at one side, and all the finished product goes out of the other side, is that every ounce of material
has to be transported in a dozen different parts all the way across the factory, and which, in many cases is over a thousand feet. When you multiply thousands of tons of material by 1,000 feet, you get a great many of ton-miles of transportation, and transportation costs money." While perhaps some of our industries are not as large as the Ford plant, the same principles can be applied. Internal transportation is one of your big losses yearly.
Just take the time; go through your plant and see the problems that you can solve yourself along this line. It does not always need an efficiency engineer; just apply a little common sense.
OFFICE FURNITURE OPPORTUNITIES
A Digest of Reports Made by American Consuls to the Department of Commerce on the Openings for the Sale of Office Furniture in Other Lands
HAT a definite sales opportunity in Europe, Africa and the Orient awaits the American manufacturer of desks, filing cabinets and office furniture of both steel and wooden construction, seems apparent in the following symposium presenting extracts from the daily reports of government agents abroad. In the majority of cases, with the possible exception of Great Britain, the field has not been properly developed, although the tendency in favor of goods of American make is marked. This advantage, however, is discounted to some extent by the active advertising and educational campaign necessary to the effective introduction of this class of furniture. For the energetic American exporter with sufficient backing to establish permanent agencies, the foreign market is not without extensive possibilities.
"The increasing popularity of American styles of office furniture is very marked in England and in this consular district (Bradford, Eng.) on account of the close and large business relations with the United States, that popularity is particularly in evidence, despite the conservative nature of the business people.
"A recent conversation with an experienced commercial traveler for a local firm was of much interest, as he cited numerous instances of large business houses in this district which have recently remodeled the work and equipment of their offices on American lines. British firms now produce goods on the same lines, so that American manufacturers have not now the opportunities formerly offered; but it was interesting to hear this experienced commercial traveler say that in his judgment a centrally located store or agency in this city handling exclusively American office furniture and supplies of all kinds would prove very successful.
"Bradford is a city of approximately 30,000 inhabitants and is not only surrounded by many busy manufacturing towns and villages, but is also within nine miles of Leeds, which has a population of approximately half a million. Bradford is the wool center of this country and on the Bradford exchange hundreds of business men meet every market day, not only from the immediate surrounding district, but from all parts of the country."-Consul Augustus E. Ingram, Bradford, England.
"It appears that the trade in American desks in the United Kingdom was better some 15 or 20 years ago than it is at present. There are no statistics available showing the value of office desks imported from the United States,
but it appears from a statement issued by the British Board of Trade that the total value of wood furniture and cabinet ware (under which desks would be classified) imported from the United States has decreased within the past five years.
"At present American desks are imported in two ways -fully finished ready for the market, and in knockdown and unfinished condition. The latter method is preferred by importers generally, especially those who manufacture desks of their own, for the reason that the initial cost to them is not so great and they are able to finish the article in their own shops and place their names upon it, so that when it is sold to the consumer it appears to be a Britishmade desk.
"If the other method is adopted by the American maņufacturer, it is much better for him to establish a branch office and depot, in London, for example, than to engage the services of a merchant or agent, who would probably represent other lines and would be inclined to push those which commanded a more ready sale and produced the best returns.
"Some well-known American firms have already established branch offices in London and are doing a satisfactory business. However, owing to the present keen competition in the trade and to the natural reluctance of the British public to adopt quickly a new article, it is believed that a manufacturer who is not known in the English market would have to be prepared to engage in an extensive advertising campaign and to wait a considerable time for satisfactory returns.
"There is a demand for high-class office desks, but it is rather limited. It appears that the class of desk which is most popular in this country sells at about 5 guineas ($25.55).”—Consul General John L. Griffiths, London,
"The demand for American office furniture has increased considerably in Algeria during the past two years, largely owing to the enterprise of an Algerian firm that has advertised extensively and pushed sales at Algiers and in other localities through its agents.
"The most important sales have been of roll topped desks, which, in order to avoid undue expense for freight and duty, are imported knocked-down and unvarnished. It is estimated that there is a saving of 30 to 35 per cent in importing desks in this manner.
"The desirability of importing American roll topped desks was discussed with one of the leading dealers in
high class furniture of this country, who stated that he has purchased a few American desks, set up and ready for sale, through a Paris agency, but that the price asked was so high and his profits so small that there was no object in pushing their sale. It was admitted that it would be profitable to keep a stock in supply and to push the sale of American desks if they could be secured under favorable conditions in the United States.
"The demand for filing cabinets is of comparatively recent growth. A few important firms are using filing cabinets at present and it is likely that their use will become more general in the near future.
"The type of cabinet which has sold most readily is 55 inches high, 15 inches wide and 25 inches deep, and is made of wood and iron. The price paid for such a cabinet is $23.10."-Consul Dean B. Mason, Algiers, Algeria.
"First class metal office furniture is not manufactured at present in Germany to any extent and such devices as are on the market are crude and expensive compared with similar lines of American origin. An active importer of office supplies is of the opinion that a promising future awaits American exporters of these devices who take the pains to introduce their goods properly. By this he means that intending exporters must establish a first-class agency in Hamburg and through this agency provide local dealers with sufficiently large stocks to make prompt deliveries possible."-Consul General Robert O. Skinner, Hamburg, Germany.
"It is only comparatively recently that steel furniture has been sold at all in this consular district (Port Elizabeth, South Africa). Steel filing cabinets were the first articles to find a market here and probably the first in this line was introduced at this consulate. This cabinet was of American manufacture, was procured through an agency in Cape Town and upon being shown to office visitors occasional sales resulted.
"At present there are agencies for these products in Port Elizabeth. At least one of these carries a small line of small to medium-sized cabinets, which are selling in a fairly satisfactory manner.
"The demand for such furniture and fittings should steadily increase, but it must also be born in mind that the white population, which composes the business element, is small and a large volume of business cannot be reasonably expected.
"The only satisfactory methods which appear likely to succeed at present are the establishment of local agencies with office specialty and typewriter agents or the arrangement with reliable furniture dealers to have exclusive selling rights for sections reached by their ordinary trade. In either case it will be useless at this time to expect agents or dealers to carry stocks to any extent.
"One of the elements tending to retard the demand for steel furniture is the comparative infrequency of fires. On the other hand, with a warm climate and humid atmosphere, wooden furniture unless made of most thoroughly seasoned wood is almost sure to warp badly. This is particularly apt to prove annoying with desks and cabinet drawers and is a factor which will appeal to most local business men if properly presented. Because of its compactness, durability and resistance to fire and moist atmosphere, it would appear a practical certainty that steel office furniture will ultimately be considered superior to similar wooden products in this district."-Consul E. A. Wakefield, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
"The prospects for the development of trade in steel office furniture are fairly good (Singapore, Straits Settle
ments.) This furniture is not unknown in Malaya, but its advantages over wood are not universally recognized. Three firms have installed small lines, but the field is capable of greater expansion than it seems likely to receive from these firms. Except in Singapore, steel furniture is not generally known on the Peninsula.
"Steel furniture is much superior to other kinds of furniture in this hot climate. Office furniture should be brought to the notice of the government officials, general offices in the Straits Settlement and those in the Federated Malay States, and I believe it would soon bring satisfactory results so far as it applies to the European offices.
"Freight is an important item in the case of bulky goods like steel furniture and an inquiry was received recently at this office as to whether this furniture could not be shipped in a knock-down state as is the wooden office furniture.
"If steel furniture can be shipped in a knock-down state a very great saving will be found and this will assist representatives to overcome the question of cost."-Consul General Edwin S. Cunningham, Singapore, Straits Settlements.
"There is prospect of considerable trade for many lines of steel safety goods, such as steel filing cabinets, cabinet safes, steel coffers for papers and similar goods (Hongkong, China.) Some of the larger business establishments in Hongkong have found that some means of preserving papers from the destructive effects of climate and tropical insect pests must be had, and they have found that these steel filing conveniences offer the best means at least
"The demand for such goods so far has not gone beyond the experimental stage, but the interest in them is widespread and there ought to be a good field for their sale here. Interest in steel desks and chairs, office files, bookcases and the like is great and there is undoubtedly a good opportunity for the sale of such goods in this part of the world, though a campaign of education would be necessary to introduce them. Stocks of such goods should be kept on hand in all the larger centers of trade.-Consul General George E. Anderson, Hongkong, China.
Not to take short cuts by the path of danger.
To be watchful of the safety of myself and of my fellow-employes.
To be neat, cleanly and efficient, not only in my personal habits, but in my work and in the care of tools, apparatus or buildings entrusted to my charge.
To report dangerous conditions or dangerous practices to my foreman, superintendent or Works Safety Committee.
To keep my temper when handling tools or men.
To extend a helping hand and a few words of advice to the newcomer, to the foreigner, or to the man who does not understand.
To be a SAFETY MAN.-E. I. Du Pont de Nemours Powder Co.
THE percentage of power consumed in driving the blower fan of a woodworking plant as compared to the power requirements for machines themselves is strikingly large sometimes, and it is large enough in any case to make the selection of fan and the installing of a blower system a matter requiring careful, skilled attention.
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The Manufacturers to Meet
HAT promises to be the most important, and presumably the largest meeting of the furniture manufacturers of the country, will be held in Chicago, on Thursday, May 14-before another issue of THE FURNITURE MANUFACTURER AND ARTISAN is printed. The call for this meeting, signed by the representatives of the several associations among the manufacturers, was published in these pages last month. Eight associations joined in that call. A federation of the associations is planned, and joint action on subjects of common interest it is expected will be the outcome. Several of the associations which have been active in recent years have called meetings during the same week, and there should be abundant reason for every manufacturer who is alive to the importance of coöperative action for the common good to attend.
HERE are indications that the President and Congress are beginning to take heed to the protests of the commercial world against further disturbing and restrictive anti-trust legislation. In response to the President's trust message of January 20, only one bill, that relating to the Interstate Trade Commission, has actually been introduced in Congress. Three tentative committee drafts, relative to additions to the Sherman law, definitions under the Sherman law, and interlocking directorates, have been put forth as bases of discussion only. On March 18, a fourth tentative draft, dealing with holding companies, was made public. No draft or bill has yet appeared relative to the control of railroad securities.
The bill creating an Interstate Trade Commission was the subject of hearings before the interstate trade committee of the House from January 30 to February 16. It was then placed in the hands of a sub-committee for redrafting and was reintroduced on March 14, and ordered reported out of the committee on March 16; but the report is yet delayed in order that it may be accompanied
by printed explanatory matter. Consideration of the Interstate Trade Commission bill has been given in the Senate by the committee on interstate commerce. It is now in the hands of a sub-committee. The indications are that the Senate will insist upon broader powers for the Commission than those now provided by the bill introduced in the House.
On the three tentative drafts referred to above, there have been hearings before the House committee on the judiciary during February and March, and these still continue. It is understood that all three drafts are being redrawn, after conferences with the President. The comImittee has indicated no date when revision will be made public. It is possible that all three drafts may be brought into one bill. The Senate committee on interstate commerce has also had these drafts before it, and has requested by mail criticisms and suggestions. The committee has made public no conclusions of its own.
NDER the above title the Saturday Evening Post, in the issue of March 26, prints the last of a series of four articles by Forrest Crissey on organized effort among men in a common trade. A perusal of this article should be an admirable preparation for the manufacturers of furniture who are to gather in convention at Chicago on May 14. Mr. Crissey recognizes that many men hesitate to ally themselves with trade organizations because of the bogy of anti-trust legislation and the insane and absurd activity upon the part of government officials in opposition to anything like coöperation among business men, but he recognizes that only through association contact can any wholesome results be secured. "No manufacturer," he says, "can operate his business along the lines of highest intelligence and efficiency without teamwork with his competitors, without that coöperative study of trade tendencies and trade problems that is only possible in a well-organized association of the main body of the members of his industry. He must command a bird's-eye view of the vital statistics of his industry, and must be in touch with the best minds and the best methods in that industry, before he can work to the best advantage." But he adds, "how the handicap of the Sherman Law fear is going to be removed from the pathway of legitimate association development is a riddle in the minds of most leaders of industry; but all believe it will have to be solved, because the association is a vital economic necessity and the way for it will have to be made straight somehow. This is the essence of the opinions expressed in confidential conversation by almost a score of solid business men in as many different lines of manufacture and trade."
Some of these men Mr. Crissey quotes, demonstrating conclusively, among other things, that the small manufacturers are the ones who profit most by their contact with others of their craft through organization and gives some sage advice how the small manufacturer should be treated.
Mr. Crissey points out how better ethical standards have been established because of organization among manufacturers, urges that cost determination lies at the basis of the best results and then outlines the policy which is in force in Germany, which in so many particulars differs from that which maintains in this country, where the governing powers are arrayed against anything which in any way may even suggest "restraint of trade." In this connection, Arthur C. Hastings, president of the American Paper and Pulp Manufacturers' Association, is quoted as follows:
"The attitude of the German government is briefly this: 'You must not make an excessive profit, but you must