Happy New Year!
Make 2006 better than 2005
How can we make 2006 better than 2005? One way is to adopt a few work-related new year's resolutions. The author lists five factors that hold the industry back--factors that everyone should resolve to overcome for a successful year.
|This sample was cut from a section of welded
16-in.-OD pipe. The interesting pattern was
created when a socket head cap screw got rolled
into the strip at the steel mill.Photo provided by
William C. Tungate, department manager,
16-inch mill, Newport Steel, Newport, Ky.
Well, we've come around to another year. How can we make 2006 better than 2005? Mainly by not doing everything the same way we did it last year. It really is time to adopt New Year's resolutions like you mean it. I don't mean the ones about losing weight or getting that hair transplant or tummy tuck! I want to talk about the real you! What is it that really burned you last year? I don't know about you, but incompetence seems to rise to the top of the list again for me. Here are some examples:
- The Bureaucrat—The manager who is great at crunching numbers but has no clue about the processes you must perform every day.
- The Tinker—The guy who never leaves anything alone. You know, the second-shift operator who changes every mill setting less than 10 minutes after you leave, despite day-shift production without any problems.
- The Low-baller—The noncreative salesperson who knows just one strategy: Sell at the lowest price. He's the one who accepts orders for tube lots so small that the production takes one hour to run but two hours to set up. I'm sure you have heard this reason or excuse: "We're trying to land a new account, and we have to show them what we can do." Sure. Let's be sure to show the
new customer that we know how to throw away a lot of money.
- Problematic Material—Coil that drives you crazy. Even when the mill setup is perfect, somehow weld faults, inclusion-driven defects, are blamed on setup. The material must have been good; we have certifications from the mill.
- Missing Ethics—A big problem that starts at the top, judging by the indictments and convictions that have made the headlines over the past couple of years.
Everyone knows the three rules of real estate ("Location, location, location"); the statement stands without explanation. A similar mantra should apply in any business: "Ethics, ethics, ethics." Ethical practices are paramount for success in any business and are crucial for everyone—suppliers, customers, managers, coworkers. One thing is sure: If ethics aren't the first concern, none of us can succeed.
You get the picture. These are, in my opinion, the top five underlying reasons for defeat in our industry. Defeat is a condition and a mental state; none of us works to our best potential when our self-image is one of defeat. I am sure you have your own list of reasons. I want to hear them and see them and share them. After all, one person can't wage the entire fight against the unseen, the unheard, the unspoken. We have much to be proud of, much to crow about. Consider this monthly article as a way to share both your defeats, if they would be a good lesson for others, and your triumphs, as they may spur others to try harder.
Let's start off with the fourth item on the list, the one we all love to hate—problematic material.
Your setup is right on ... the weld seam is rock-solid all the way through the line at the 12 o'clock position ... no weld faults ... the nondestructive and destructive test results are great, until you put the last coil on the mill. How come everyone wants to blame production when welds split? How come it is always someone's fault other than the raw material supplier's?
The flaw shown in the photo on the previous page was detected in inspection after welding. Some explanations are:
- Look ma, I made an impression!
- Hey, we gave you a free bolt with that master coil. In the steel mill's defense,
the maintenance department at Newport did attempt to use the bolt but it was
too "l—o—n—g" to fit. Sorry, no sale on the "free bolt" excuse.
So here is your first challenge: Send me your quick, glib response to the complaint and we will publish it with recognition (unless you want to remain anonymous). The winner will receive a free coffee cup from the Tube & Pipe Association, International®.
Naturally, there is a serious side to this problem. The bottom line is that most material-related faults aren't discovered until after the tube or pipe is made.
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