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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 3 (July 1, 1930)


Crude attempts have been made to select employees in some factories, but, speaking generally, such movements are only possible where there are different processes being carried out in the same shop. This seems to indicate a large shop such as our Railway Shops, which are concerned with a variety of processes. As an instance of what I mean let me quote two cases. The first was relative to a big screw-driving job. Screws had to be driven at set spaces by a machine, and the whole contract finished before a given time. The number of screws used was something in the vicinity of one hundred and twenty-six thousand. To the average man the task would have been tiring in the extreme. But the Otahuhu shops are employing some 800 men, so that it was possible to get just the man who could do it without engendering boredom with its attendant evils. The man took a pride in the job, he declined to accept a move to other work, and finished the contract ahead of time. Moreover, he was proud of his accomplishment, of his skill in doing the work, and, above all, of the fact that he used up all the screws of a particular size in Auckland. A small shop would have found it impossible to “select” with the same degree of success.

The second example is that of a general labourer who was discovered to have definite sketching ability. He was thereon placed in the card checking section—a labourer's job—for half the time. The reason is obvious. He had an aptitude for seeing in a particular way necessary for the reading of these cards. This aptitude meant more efficient work in less time, while the employee suffered less from fatigue page 54 page 55 because of the inherent interest the job held. I could multiply these examples, but these are two simple types which prove, in a very clear way, that our shops are doing their work in a scientific manner.