You are quite right on these costs, and you have listed several of them. My
view is that there may always be additional more subjective costs. For
example, will other highly qualified employees choose not to work in the
building due to the hazardous substances, even though you have the fans,
etc., thus reducing the quality of your work force.
My point is not to ignore any subjective costs initially because you do not
know how to quantify them. Get them on paper first, then do your best to put
them in proper perspective so that you can answer the questions when they
Preston Smith CMC
Your example about employees not wanting to work with hazardous substances
is a good one. I recently ran into a situation just like this at work.
Everybody initially thought it would be neat to have stereolithography
capability inhouse but when we actually got the process up and running,
attitudes rapidly changed. I worked in an area of CAD/CAM tool designers
and NC programmers and suddenly they were to be converted into Lab
Technicians overnight. Needless to say a lot of them resented this saying
"This was not in my job description!" Management's edict that the SLA
machine would run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (with pager support) also
didn't set well with them, especially after several of them had to come in
on Sunday's and at 3 a.m. in the morning to change out the machine or
recover crashes. I suggested that a small elite VOLUNTEER group be used for
the SLA machine and the required STL/Maestro work because it would be much
easier for training and build coordination purposes. Management wouldn't
hear of it, they wanted everybody in the area trained to run the SLA machine
and the software (30 people). This has created a real training burden on
the group and has forced the backlog up on tool design and NC work. It's
extremely frustrating to train people on the SLA process when they're
constantly being interrupted by the shop on tool design and NC program
questions. Because so many people are involved (too many cooks in the
kitchen) many "minor" things are being overlooked, such as ordering more
resin when we were out!
Needless to say, this area will lose several experienced people because of
management's philosophy of shoving the process down employee's throats,
regardless of the consequences. I understand that there are cases where 24
hour support is necessary on time critical projects but making toy models
for executives is not one of them!
I specifically placed a request for another employee for SLA support into
the capital approriation request but it was completely ignored. Next time,
I'll include the cost of losing several experienced employees and the cost
of replacing them into the capital appropriation request. "Subjective"
costs can be very important to a project's true success!!
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