First principle of productivity: Precisely set ideals or goals

Assuming that there is an organization that can apply the principles of productivity, we will see that these principles, interdependent, achieve maximum results only as a whole, operate in a certain logical sequence.

The first principle of productivity is the need for well-defined ideals or goals

One hundred years ago, when the development of industry and communications in America was just beginning, the energetic young craftsman, who started a special production on his own, always knew very precisely and clearly what he was preparing for and how his work was done.

He knew what he wanted. Nowadays, people make a career in large companies, gradually rising, gradually moving from one job to another, and therefore often do not have a clear idea of ​​the goals for which the company serves.

Workers and masters, ie. the lower-level staff of the enterprise are so far from the manager, who determines the main lines of his activity and is responsible for the organization, for the distribution of powers, for the general course of work, that they inadvertently create one or another goals, one or another work incentives, which are often different from the opinion of senior managers.

If we could unite all the goals and ideals that inspire the organization from top to bottom, bring them together in such a way that they all work in the same direction, we would get great results. But because virtually everyone is pulling in different directions, the counterpart is often very weak, and sometimes just negative.

The destructive confusion of diverse, competing, and neutralizing ideals and aspirations is extremely common to all American manufacturing companies. No less typical is the enormous ambiguity and uncertainty of the main goal, for which even the most responsible leaders have no clear idea.

We will try to show this with a number of different examples, the number of which can be filled by any American manufacturer with, albeit small, experience.

A very active man worked in a railway repair shop, and it was his duty to inspect the cylinders and find cracks in them. Usually a minor crack can be patched; but sometimes the crack is so severe that a new cylinder has to be ordered. The patch costs an average of $ 30 and the new cylinder $ 600. When our capable and serious worker recommended ordering a new cylinder and the administration followed his advice, he literally shone with pride.

Both in front of his wife and in front of his comrades, he constantly boasted about the high level of trust he was given, the important and responsible work that was assigned to him. In suspicious cases, he always insisted on a new cylinder, and it was always easier for his superiors to approve his decision than to appoint a more qualified person to do an inspection. In this way, the ideals of speed and economy were set aside, and in their place was the ideal of personal pride.

Let’s take another example. Twenty-four people worked in the factory’s tool shop. The work did not require so many people, so the specialist in charge of tools gradually reduced the staff to eighteen. And suddenly there are six new workers hired by the senior master.

When the headmaster asked the master why he was hiring redundant people, he said: “Twenty-four people work for the tool workshop. If I start dealing with fewer people, my staff will be reduced, and when the work increases, it is difficult to achieve expansion.

That’s why I always prefer to fill the staff, even if I don’t have enough work. ”He had to explain to the master long and hard that he didn’t need twenty-four people, and if he needed fifty people to work, he would be given.

The same phenomenon: by pursuing his petty goals, the master clearly comes into conflict with the main purpose of management.

Third example. There was a manager in the factory who did not want the number of workers to be less than a thousand. He did his best to increase the workload of the workshops and workshops, and willingly agreed to reduce the working day; but to allow the number of workers to fall below a thousand, even though they left voluntarily, was, in his view, to humiliate himself.

He fought for many years for his position as governor of a thousand people, and this truly perverted ideal, the ideal of personal pride, completely displaced all ideals of economy and productivity from his consciousness.

Let’s take another plant. It employed twelve thousand people, and the director was firmly convinced that there was only one way to increase production – by hiring new people. He seemed to think that if the number of workers was placed on one cup of the scales and the size of the production on the other, the workers would be heavier than the output.

He once even wrote an order directly stating that it was not the economy that was the main goal, but the maximum output, and that the number of workers should be expanded to the last. In five months, he spent an extra half a million dollars. Significantly increased the unit cost of production. A completely false ideal of big numbers defeated all the true ideals of productivity.

The chairman of a large industrial enterprise introduced an extremely rational system of standards and norms, and then concluded a number of contracts with customers, according to which payment for production was calculated based on material and labor costs plus the percentage allowance of the last item.

And when he was told that increasing productivity reduced the number of hours worked, and therefore the cost of labor, and the percentage increase became lower, he immediately solved the problem on his own: fire the innovator and thus release him from the obligation to give “unprofitable” advice and prohibit the strictest application of the principles of productivity in all workshops that executed orders under the relevant contracts.

All over the world, the initial period of railway construction is characterized by completely wrong concepts and ideals. As a result, the value of the first railways is enormous, and this period has left us with such a legacy of unproductiveness that we will only be able to deal with them for centuries.

From the very beginning, British engineers set such high standards for tolerable slopes, bends and double sections, and at the same time allowed such low dimensions that the cost of all British railways was twice the norm with reduced tonnage forever.

It is said that when King Ludwig I of Bavaria first traveled on the new and first railway line in his kingdom, he was very disappointed that there were no tunnels along the entire line. They had to move the road so that it would rest on the mountain and dig a tunnel.

When the railway line from St. Petersburg to Moscow was conceived, the engineers visited Emperor Nicholas I and most honestly asked him which places the line should pass through. The emperor took a pencil and a ruler, drew a straight line from St. Petersburg to Moscow, and said, “Here you go, gentlemen.” And the line cost $ 337,000 a mile, and it’s about 400 miles long. And in Finland, where the construction was led by a group of knowledgeable engineers, the railway cost $ 23,000 a mile. Such ridiculous mistakes make us Americans have an ironic smile.

But did our Maritime Minister do better when, without being guided in his work and without following the instructions of the Maritime Facilities Committee, he ordered the construction of the battleship Texas on uncoordinated designs on two different ships? Is it any wonder why this “Texas” turned out to be a real monster of absurdity? Indeed, it was later used very expediently: it was renamed Saint Marcos and made a target for long-range cannon testing.

In all these cases, from the worker who discards broken cylinders to kings and emperors, we encounter the same phenomenon, namely: certain and persistently implemented, but incorrect and harmful ideals. When these ideals acquire some consistency, it costs the organizations concerned incredibly dearly.

Such are the examples of the destructive, corrosive action of low or side ideals: but perhaps even more harmful results are obtained from vague ideals, from ordinary personal impulsiveness.

During the siege of Sevastopol, officers who were having lunch in the cabin of a warship suddenly heard several shots from a heavy cannon in astonishment. After each thunder, the young midshipmen burst out laughing. It should be noted that a heavy projectile costs two hundred and fifty dollars.

During the investigation, it turned out that the gentlemen midshipmen bet which of them would be able to drive a donkey standing in the town square. They all fired at once, but did no harm to the donkey.

A driver poured a gallon of forty-cent naphtha on the ground to patch a fifteen-cent can. Recently, I saw a group of workers, led by a road mechanic, cover a thirty-foot steel rail with mud and garbage just because it was easier than picking it up and taking it to a certain place to be safe.

A technical factory manager ordered a large automatic lathe to make tool steel crank bolts. He did not have any ideals of his own, but vaguely considered that the automatic lathe should work cheaper than the manual one.

When we cut the wire into small screws, work really plays a major role in the cost of these screws, and the material seems to come out cheap. But in the manufacture of crank bolts, on the contrary, the work plays a secondary role, and the main cost is for the material. And the automatic lathe greatly increased the cost of new material, which was more expensive than the old way of making it, although it produces a lot of scrap metal and requires the bolts to be stamped first and then made on a lathe.

Americans have a nimble mind; the more successful our people are, the more initiative they take. That is why they achieve great individual successes, but also suffer huge individual losses.

It is no coincidence that an American reporter was sent to look for Livingston. It is no coincidence that an American researcher was the first to make his way to the North Pole. We unreservedly trust the first movement, we firmly rely on personal initiative. We owe a lot of trouble to this, and if meaningless plans are not always accepted in our country, the ease with which they arise still raises some concerns.

When designing the Great Pacific Railway, a young engineer, author of brilliant articles, wrote theses in which he proposed that the new line be thirty-foot-wide, with a thousand tons of freight wagons, and all buildings in new villages, towns and neighborhoods to be made of standard concrete parts. Fortunately, this young man’s influence was less than his imagination, but that’s not always the case!

While individuals make unbelievably ridiculous mistakes, organizations make even more frightening absurdities: because there are non-specialists in them, they cannot oppose the initiative of a strong-willed leader. As a result, we do not have clearly defined ideals, and this shortcoming can be traced along all major lines.

To illustrate, we will take advantage of the famous “seven wonders of the world” that antiquity was proud of, and compare them with the “seven wonders” of our time, and then with seven major American companies.

The ancients counted the “seven wonders of the world”; each of them was a huge and brilliantly executed work. Centuries have passed since then, but we, modern people, can still understand what ideals these miracles are inspired by, to sympathize with them. If there is a really clear ideal in the work, even without empathizing with it, we can always distinguish and understand it.

Of the wonderful works of man, the most ancient is the huge Egyptian pyramid, which served as both a tomb and an astronomical observatory.

The latest of the ancient wonders was also created by the Egyptians: this is the lighthouse of Faro, built in Alexandria; he helped the merchant vessels of the ancient world find their way to this great city. One of the modern wonders of the world – the Suez Canal – also belongs to the Egyptians, so it can be believed that for four millennia Egypt has made its full contribution to the treasury of human wonders.

We understand the desire of the ancients to have the largest and highest tomb that can exist in the world, so that the embalmed bodies of kings can truly rest in a royal place. We can also sympathize with the idea of ​​the huge lighthouse built by King Ptolemy of Philadelphia; we can sympathize with the cunning of the architect Sostratus, who carved his name on the solid stone wall of the lighthouse, under the plaster of which the royal name is wise.

The third wonder of the world was the Babylonian Hanging Gardens – a kind of facility made in honor of tropical vegetation and irrigation system.

The other four wonders of the world belonged to the Greeks. This is the temple of Diana of Ephesus, the tomb of King Mausoleum, built by his widow, the Colossus of Rhodes, between the open legs of which is the entrance to the harbor, and finally the masterpiece of Phidias – the statue of Zeus Olympian, made entirely of gold and ivory . In each of these seven wonders we see a distinct ideal of faith, hope, love, beauty, or civic pride.

Of the seven modern wonders of the world, none belong to the Americans. The first modern miracle was inspired by religion; it is the largest church in the world, the Roman Cathedral of St. Peter, built four hundred years ago.

The second miracle was created a hundred years ago: it is the world’s largest triumphal arch, which is left to us as a memorial to the victories of the great conqueror Napoleon I.

The other five are works of modern industrial technology. Only one of the ancient miracles was utilitarian, and of the new five, it is utilitarian and only one is religious. But the creators of the new wonders of the world, as well as the ancient creators, were enthusiastic in their creation of high and noble ideals.

The first of the utilitarian facilities is the Suez Canal. It shortens the sea route from Northern Europe to the East by as much as 5,000 miles, so that for some ports the distance is reduced by more than half. The canal was started in 1859; according to the project, its construction was to cost thirty million dollars and be completed in 1864. In fact, the canal cost eight hundred million and was opened in 1869.

The ideal of construction was realized, but none of the other eleven principles of productivity were applied. completely and utterly, and many are not observed at all. That is why the work took twice as long and cost three times more than expected.

The next largest facility belongs to the French – the Eiffel Tower, which rises a thousand feet above the ground and is the tallest building in the world and a prototype of modern American steel structures, which became widespread only with the advent of lifting machines (elevators).

The third wonder of the world is the Fort Bridge. Its supports resemble three pairs of Eiffel Towers, with all pairs connected at the base, half of the bridge extending from the supports of nine hundred feet without end support. This bridge has a very massive construction, as the wind pressure is more dangerous for it than the weight of passing trains.

The fourth modern marvel is the Sengotard Tunnel (in the Alps), which is twelve miles long. When it was being built, two railway lines were already passing through the Alps: the Brenner Railway (Tyrol) and the Mont Seny Tunnel (French Alps). But Italy, Switzerland and Germany have decided to join forces to shift centuries of North-South trade to a shorter path.

The main difficulty in this task was the need to dig a huge tunnel that was twice as long as the longest rail tunnel in America. The big undertaking almost failed, as the administration did not care enough about sanitation and workers died en masse from tapeworm. Doctors believed that the reason for the increased mortality was the harmful conditions of underground work in general. Recently, this parasite appeared in our country, in the United States.

The seventh and last wonder of the modern world are considered to be the twin ships “Olympic” and “Titanic”, they were designed and built by the British to restore the ancient dominance of the seas.

So, of the seven wonders, one belongs to Italy, one to Italy and Switzerland together, three to France, two to England. In each of them we see the ideal to the end, and in many, in addition, the other principles of productivity are implemented – sometimes partially and sometimes completely.

In this respect, special mention should be made of the Olympic and Titanic, which were built on time and both in terms of value and quality of execution met all expectations.

We recalled the fourteen famous wonders of the world. In each of them a certain ideal is realized. Let’s compare with them seven large American facilities. None of them is religious, we will not find anything wonderful in them either, and the utilitarian value of five of them is questionable.

The Panama Canal, which is without a doubt the most expensive of all human endeavors, is being built with great perseverance. Thanks to the discovery and destruction of the insects that spread yellow fever, we will be able to complete the sluice canal, spending six hundred million dollars. If we choose by lot twenty great contemporary thinkers, no doubt on the question of the main goal or ideal of this channel and three of them would not coincide opinions.

Reasonably, the first word here belongs to Roosevelt, and his argument for the need for the Panama Canal coincides with Goethe’s famous thought: sooner or later, it was as if someone would take up the job; and if anyone still has to do the job, of course, the United States will do it first.

The second most important engineering facility in America is New York’s new railway station, which costs about three hundred million dollars.

We know engineers who consider the large passenger stations at the end points of the railway lines a remnant of those distant times when in England mail carriages departed from famous central hotels. Large stations at the endpoints, perhaps, are some conveniences for passengers with large luggage: but for passengers in the area without luggage, they are quite and unconditionally inconvenient.

There are very few passengers with luggage even in direct high-speed trains. Are all these huge stations built just for the convenience of a handful of people hauling luggage? In the summer, on Sunday evenings, our city railways carry five hundred passengers to and from Coney Island, and this vast mass of people passes magnificently without any station; without a station of one hundred million, one and a half million visitors passed by to see the Colombian exhibition in one day.

Hundreds of thousands of passengers who fill the carriages of the underground train on 42nd Street and at Brooklyn Bridge do not need palace stations. In fact, such huge crowds never gather at the same time, and if such a mass of people gathers at the same time gets on the train or gets off at the station, which is quite far from housing, whatever huge station we build, it is as if we have no chance to deal with it.

It is convenient for passengers to get on and off the train near their homes, ie. to treat them as modern mail treats letters. And the ancient postal system, which is now dying out even in the villages and in which the sender and recipient must appear in person at the post for every letter, is decidedly inconvenient and undesirable for anyone.

There is nothing more convenient than the modern baggage delivery system, in which the railway service takes your things from home for a minimum fee and hands them over at home, but in another city. The main problem of passenger traffic in the city is to break up the hotbeds of accumulation, to destroy the crowds of passengers, to distribute it to many small points, and the large stations at the final stops automatically create an accumulation of people.

And so the organizational and financial ideals that underlie the huge costs of the big stations seem a bit vague. If we divide the value of the facility and the contents of these stations among all the arriving and departing trains, we will inadvertently have to recall Horace’s famous verse about the grief from which a mouse was born.

The third major American facility is the New York Maritime Canal. Railway officials, who have reason to be particularly sensitive to the channel’s absurdity, say the amount needed for it will be enough to build and equip a railway from Buffalo to Hudson, and then transport freight for free. Such a railway could carry ten times more freight from the canal.

Building the canal with state funds seems an extremely dubious method of curbing the alleged excessive appetites of railway companies; because during the navigation period (and this period for rivers and canals is one) the St. Lawrence River and the road to Montreal seem to consolidate more or less the export tariffs of all American ports.

The fourth major US facility currently under construction is the improvement of inland waterways. It is believed that the railway companies are not subject to any influence, although at the slightest dissatisfaction of the Committee on Interstate Communications all the values ​​of Wall Street are beginning to derail.

It is believed that water communication, which is subject to all accidents caused by shallow water, spills and freezes, can be made so cheap as to bankrupt all railways, despite the fact that railways running parallel to Mississippi, an entire sailing year pays its shareholders excellent dividends.

Railways that carry freight thousands of miles accurately and accurately to 99.97% achieve such a high and valuable ideal that their activities cannot be undermined and limited by the long-outdated river and canal transport system.

The fifth huge expensive facility, which is also under construction in our country, is the navy. If the Maine battleship did not exist in the world, there would be no Spanish-American war, which cost 12 million dollars, there would be no Philippine problem, which turns us into an East Asian country, when we have not yet resolved the most basic domestic tasks such as the remuneration of workers who are still exploited, such as the eradication of unemployment, such as fair and orderly civil governance.

In modern conditions, the warship turned out to be obsolete five years after its commissioning. The great successes of aviation threaten to make the navy meaningless, as did steel armor after the invention of gunpowder or sailing ships after the invention of steamers.

England definitely needs a navy and therefore always maintains it at the level of modern technology; it has furnished and coal, and repair, and cable stations, which are necessary for it to work productively. But as for other countries – Germany, France, Russia, Italy, Argentina, the

United States, for them the need and value of a strong navy is far from proven. On the other hand, for two of them it is completely proven that the presence of a navy involved them in devastating wars.

But as long as we are doomed to maintain a fleet until our potential enemies agree to disarm, Americans can proudly point to the high excellence of their warships, which surpass all other nations in combat capability and overall efficiency. this direction.

Thanks to a series of consistent improvements in range, accuracy, speed and power of fire, the modern American battleship is three thousand times more productive than its ancestors, who fought at Santiago thirty years ago.

In the five huge facilities listed, we find the same major sin of American production – over-equipment. It is caused in us by distrust of spiritual forces and trust in the material scale. If the mistake is of gigantic proportions, it is almost always accepted in our country as an achievement.

The last two wonders of American technology are utilitarian. These are the New York subway and the hoisting machines that serve tall buildings everywhere.

But even here we do not see clearly enough conscious and persistently pursued ideals or goals. Some of the tall buildings are too beautiful at the expense of expediency and usefulness, others are perfectly adapted to practical purposes, but they are quite disgusting in appearance and only others combine elegance with comfort.

As for the underground line, as it is a completely separate system, with nothing to do with other railways, it cannot be regretted that it does not have a six-foot track and twelve-foot-wide double-decker wagons. If its wagons had two floors, with the same length of the platform and with a very small increased initial cost, they would take three times the load.

The development of the ideals of morality, goodness and beauty is not part of the rights and obligations of the engineer-innovator, who deals with issues of productivity; he has no reason to suppose that his personal understanding of ideals or goals will be more correct than the understanding of other people.

However, he has the right to demand that every endeavor set a certain ideal that does not conflict with at least some of the principles of productivity.

The ideals underlying English railway construction are quite obvious: the absence of steep slopes, sharp turns, intersections at the level of the rails, two-way sections, large stations at the final passenger stations.

Although some of these requirements are contrary to common sense and were rejected from the outset in both the English colonies and the Americas, the engineer-innovator can still accept the value of building English railroads (375,000 per mile) and then to achieve maximum efficiency in the use of this money, because of the twelve principles of productivity, these requirements do not agree with only one, namely – the principle of common sense.

We could learn to have a clear awareness of the ideals of the distant past, although we need to create our own content. The words “Know thyself” were carved on the pediment of a Greek temple. Instead, we modern people could take as our motto “Know not the external conditions, but the spirit of your enterprise.”

On the walls of all the monasteries of a great monastic order was an inscription: “Remember death.” Instead, we can say, “Remember, you have to be persistent.”

A well-known administrator constantly suggested to the workers that there were two ways to increase wages: either to take more from buyers, or to reduce the cost per unit of output by eliminating losses.

Uncertainty, the lack of clear goals, so characteristic of our performers, are only a reflection of the insurmountability, uncertainty and lack of clear goals from which managers themselves suffer. There must not and cannot be any contradictions between the rails and the locomotive, between the locomotive and its driver.

There should be no contradictions between the driver and the dispatcher, between the dispatcher and the timetable, although it is the timetable that determines to the nearest second all the deadlines of the train, which travels distances of thousands of miles at great speed.