The Story of Pete

Pete was the best lathe operator in the plant and he knew it. Pete always took pride in the quality of his work; in fact, even the Manufacturing Engineering department respected his abilities, although his unique personality was rather brusque, at times.

One day, a young Industrial Engineer was asked to reevaluate a time standard by the plant’s second shift. As it turned out, Pete was running that job on day shift and would be the individual time studied. As the young engineer approached, he was shooed away by this outstanding machinist and told there was nothing wrong with the time standard; in fact, Pete had easily made the day’s requirements in only six hours!

As the second shift began, the engineer told the supervisor about his “discussion” with Pete and, much to his dismay, the supervisor insisted upon a new time study – the second shift operator could only achieve 60% of the standard working the entire shift!

The next day, determined to solve this puzzle, the young engineer once again approached Pete, this time ignoring his banter. Delving into the work instructions, he noted that nothing about the machine setup matched what Manufacturing Engineering documented as an “optimal” setup.

Pete scoffed at the documentation “Those engineers don’t know what they’re doing! Any machinist worth his salt knows that ain’t the way to setup this lathe”! The young engineer (naïve soul that he was) asked “Why haven’t you told anyone?” Pete laughed and responded “First of all, no one listens to us, and I enjoy playing these games! At the end of my shift, I just tear down my setup and re-setup the machine like the engineers documented. I like seeing the other machinists struggling to keep up with me!”

Imagine the opportunity wasted…  An talented team member feels unheard and, over time, plays the system – creating waste at every turn.  Now imagine utilizing this talent to improve the company’s processes through kaizen…  We have two choices – Tempo chooses the second!