Monday, February 2, 2015

This is a GREAT day to be retired

This is what blew in through the crack in upper-center of the picture.    Eight inches tall and across the full four feet width of the aptly named "breeze way".

Battle Creek, Michigan reported 18 inches of snow.  I refuse to estimate how much fell here.  It is three inches deep in some places and four feet deep in others.  We had twenty mph winds through most of the snowfall, so it drifted even though the snow was dense and gritty.

The Monday after the Super Bowl was always a tough time to run the production line.  Absenteeism is very high.  People go to parties and stay up too late.  Some, inevitably, did not come into work the next morning.

Throw a heavy snow fall into the mix and it gets really ugly.

Third shifters were offered overtime.

People play out of position.  Most of the white collar workers are pulled out of the offices and put on some of the simpler jobs.  The jobs were simpler because there were fewer parts.  There were fewer parts because the parts were larger.  Larger and heavier.  Those office people took a beating.

A few work the phones to offer work to people who work second shift.  They also attempted to contact people on vacation in the (slim) hope of getting the to cut it short. 

The folks on the phone also attempted to call the absentees.  Having somebody come in for six hours of work is better than having them come in for zero hours of work.


There is a hierarchy of "degrade" production modes.  "Degrade" refers to rate of production NOT quality.

In areas where the line splits, it may be possible to run just one of the splits.  That was generally good for 60%-to-70% of the normal rate of production.

One area I worked was circular and had a great deal of line fill (i.e. buffering).  That is, it took almost forty minutes to run dry.  It also had three workers.  One snowy day we ran that area with two people.  Each person would make six parts in their "home" station and then stroll over to the absentee person's station and make three parts.  Six was chosen because they could easily keep track.  They placed six small parts needed for their subassembly in a small pile.  When the pile was gone they walked over and built their three.

Nobody had to sprint.  Nobody even walked fast.  But the we never ran out of dash assemblies. Two-thirds production rate was plenty because everybody else had the same kinds of issues.  Super Bowl and weather events not only impacted our plant but our suppliers and the ability to transport parts to the plant.

Still, it sucked to go into work on days like this.

This is a great day to be retired.


  1. I have no sympathy for people who don't show up for work. None whatsoever.

    There was once a company hereabouts, and bad weather came in, so they put out a call that "nonessential personnel" could stay home if they wished. A fair percentage of folks opted to stay home. Several months later, they went though a tight cycle and laid off all the "non-essential" personnnel. If you're not essential, I don't need you.

    1. Nor do I have sympathy. I had a 186 mile round trip commute to work at that facility. And I was there.

      That company you tell about killed two birds with one stone. They identified both the non-essential jobs and the people who did not want to work. Smart!

      As always, thank-you for commenting. Your comments are always to the point and well thought out.

  2. Envy you the retirement... and you're right 'some' production is better than NO production.

  3. Envy you the retirement... and you're right 'some' production is better than NO production.