By Henry Gantt

10: DEMOCRACY IN MANAGEMENT (Machine Records)

Having demonstrated by experience that it is possible to run a shop democratically and that the idea of giving every man a fair show and rewarding him accordingly is not really absurd, we naturally ask how far upward into the management we can carry this principle. The world still believes that authority must be conferred, and has a very faint conception of what we mean by intrinsic authority, or the authority that comes to a man who knows what to do and how to do it, and who is not so much concerned with being followed as on getting ahead. The problem of the manager is much wider than that of the superintendent or the foreman, for he must see that there is work to be done, materials to work with and men to do the work, besides numerous other things which are not within the sphere of the forout to what extent the shop is performing the function for which it was built. In other words, are the various producing machines operating all the time and if not, why not? An opportunity for our chart comes in again, and the reason why a machine did not work at all is indicated by symbols. Chart No. 9 is one of this type. The thin lines represent the number of hours each day a machine was operated; the heavy line represents the total number of hours it operated during the week. The symbols indicate the causes of idleness ; some were due to lack of work; some to lack of material; some to lack of men; some on account of re- pairs, etc. If we have not work enough to keep the shop busy, we must look for the cause by asking: Is there work to be had? Is our price low enough? Is our quality good enough? The answer to the first two must be determined by the manager in connection with the sales department. The third by the manager in connection with the shop superintendent. If our idle- ness is due to lack of material, the question must be taken up with the buyer and storekeeper. If it is due to lack of help, the labor policy and the wage system must be studied.

 

If the idleness is due to repairs on machinery, the question is one for consideration by the superintendent and the maintenance department. In every case the responsibility for a condition is traced directly to its source. Moreover, as it is entirely possible to determine the expense incurred by idleness, such expense may be allocated directly to the responsible parties.

 

Inasmuch as a real management system is simply a mechanism for keeping all concerned fully advised as to the needs of a shop, and for showing continuously how these needs have been supplied, the comparison between what each man from the top to the bottom did and what he should have done is easily made.

 

Under a system of management based on our charts, it soon becomes evident to all, who is performing his function properly and who is not. A man who is not making a success, knows about it as soon as anybody else, and has the opportunity of doing better if he can. If he is not making good, it is very seldom that he has any desire to hold on to the job and advertise his incompetency to his fellows. Moreover, it takes but a short experience with these methods to convince a man that his record will discredit him very much if he uses opinions instead of facts in determining his methods and policies. We are thus able to apply the same standards to those in authority that we apply to the workmen. In other words we ask of all—how well did he perform his task?

 

Fig. 9 – Key for Machine Record Chart

 

A short line on a chart points unfailingly to him who needs most help. The Machine Record charts just referred to have to do with what proportion of the plant was operated. The Man Record charts indicate the effectiveness with which the machines were operated during the time they were operated.

 

For instance, if a machine were operated only one-half the time, and with only one-half of its effectiveness during that time, we should get out of the machine only one-quarter of its possible use. A combination, therefore, of these two sets of charts, which gives a measure of the manager, is a basis of our faith in him, and a measure of the financial credit that may be extended to him as a producer. A little consideration will show that such a record is a far safer basis for financial credit in many cases than physical property, and affords a means of financing ability or productive capacity as well as ownership. It is not to be concluded that this subject is being presented in its final and complete form, but it is claimed that enough has been established to enable us to make an intelligent start in the operation of the new credit system, which the Federal Government was obliged to adopt without any guide. Further, it is safe to say that if such records as the ones just described had been available for the prominent business men of the country at the breaking out of the war, we should have been saved much time, and the expenditure of many millions of dollars. The fact that such a system is applicable to the arts of peace as well as those of war; that it will pay for itself over and over again while it is being installed; and that it will enable us to value men according to service they can render, would seem to be sufficient reason why we should lose no more time than is necessary in taking steps to extend it throughout the nation. The fact that it is not an efficiency system as the term is generally understood, nor a system of scientific management as that term is understood, but simply one which enables us to use all the knowledge available and in a manner which is intelligible to the most ordinary workman as well as to the best educated executive, is responsible for the enthusiasm with which it has been received by the workmen as well as the executive. It is designed to enable all of us to use all the knowledge we have to the best advantage, and does not in the slightest interfere with, but rather supplements and supports, the work of those whose problem is to acquire additional knowledge.

 

In the preceding chapters we have given our view of the economic situation; of the forces that were affecting it, and whether it was tending. We have also shown our mechanism for making effective use of all the knowledge available. “We also see that with increase in the amount and availability of knowledge the more certain our course of action is outlined, and the less we need to use opinion or judgment.

 

Moreover, our record charts invariably indicate the capable men, and not only give us an indication of how to choose our leaders, but a continual measure of the effectiveness of their leadership after they are chosen. We thus eliminate, to a large extent at least, opinion or judgment in the selection of leaders, and in so far do away with autocratic methods from whatever source.

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