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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 1 (May 1, 1930)


So far we have discussed in a relatively nontechnical manner some of the factors as they affect the worker objectively. By this we mean the worker considered in relation to the job by the employer; how output is affected by certain physiological or phychological processes, and in the last article, a detailed consideration of some social relationships within the factory as well as those that are the result of interaction between workroom and leisure. Before we leave the subject of the employer to examine that of the employee, it is necessary to investigate what is but another aspect of scientific management.

The main factor in successful business is the ability to deliver orders when they are promised. In New Zealand, unfortunately, it is not possible to admit such as a general axiom. That the employer is, as yet, too haphazard, is proved by the report of the Boot Commission, where it was admitted that no adequate system was in vogue for routing and timing. The employer, too often, thinks he knows. Long association with his factory breeds, shall we say, contempt? Hardly that perhaps, but it certainly is something akin to ignorance, since it is very often good guess work. In many factories “rush” orders mean entire suspension of stock work, and a concentration on new work so that it may go out “on time.” It is a surprising fact, but, at no period of production, can many employers say where the order is or how far it is on the road to completion. This is one of the factors which retards production. The maximum production is reached only after tremendous output of energy, instead of our first postulate, minimum of effort.

Because of this obvious shortcoming in our industrial system I propose to write upon method in production with definite reference to the Railway Shops, where this aspect has been introduced. It is still on the way to final polishing by those who are analysing, but for all that it is sufficiently complete to warrant citation. To the man in the street any Government Department is synonymous with light labour, short hours, and all the accompanying factors of “an easy job.” This, however, is not so. In the workshops of the Railway Department a high standard of efficiency is set.