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© 2018 Copyright Key Media and Research All rights reserved. 
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.

8
Door & Window Market www.dwmmag.com
Don’t Let Problems Come to a Head
Detailed Work Instructions Can Flush Out Production Issues
BY MIKE BURK
T
he USS Cod Submarine Memorial
is located on the lakefront in
downtown Cleveland, Ohio. It’s
a diesel electric submarine that com
-
pleted seven successful war patrols in
enemy waters during World War II. In
addition, it’s the only submarine to
have participated in an international
sub-to-sub rescue when it saved the
crew of the Dutch submarine O-19,
which had run aground on Ladd Reef
in the South China Sea.
Today, the USS Cod has been
restored and appears as it did at its
first decommissioning in 1945. Two of
the four General Motors 16-cylinder
diesel engines have been repaired and
are operational after being idled for
more than 40 years. A walk through
the restored ship allows the visitor to
gain an appreciation of life aboard a
diesel submarine at war and under
-
stand what “Makes Cod Go.
Follow Your Orders
This year, more than 22,000 visi-
tors have toured the USS Cod. Among
the items noticed by many of them
are the compartment bill holders that
are predominately displayed in each
watertight compartment. These bill
holders contained the instructions
and procedures that made the ship
operate efficiently and successfully.
Crew members classified as qualified
in submarines” memorized, under
-
stood, demonstrated and operated
the submarine in accordance with
these instructions. New sailors used
these compartment bills as a founda
-
tion to become qualified submariners.
Much like the submarine com
-
partment instructions, work instruc-
tions exist in manufacturing facili-
ties to help make production oper-
ate efficiently and successfully. These
instructions were developed so that
the correct manufacturing procedures
are followed to build quality prod
-
ucts. These steps include the required
tools, fixtures and processes to safely
build products that meet the compa
-
ny’s quality standards.
These instructions should become
the training manual for new employ
-
ees. New production workers must be
introduced to the work instructions
and informed of the importance of
following these rules. Most likely, soon
after the new employee begins to work
by following the work instructions,
another employee, with years of expe
-
rience, will inform the new person
“That’s not how we do it anymore.
This might be true if your process has
been improved and the instructions
have not been updated, but that is
probably not the case.
Many long-term employees believe
they are following the company’s best
practices. Others believe they know
a better way to complete the work.
Some devise temporary shortcuts and
work-arounds when they fall behind
or are pushed to increase produc
-
tivity. Others erroneously believe
that they have correctly memorized,
understood and demonstrated these
instructions. Problems arise when
these unauthorized changes replace
the correct operating procedures and
become the new norm. This new
norm becomes the routine process.
The submarines compartment bill
holders are prominently displayed
and accessible to the entire crew. This
is not necessarily the case with work
instructions. Sometimes they hang
on a wall or stand on a board some
-
where in the department. Other times
they are placed in notebooks and cov
-
ered with dust and dirt. It’s easy to
spot work instructions that have not
been viewed for a long time. In many
plants, they’re completely ignored.
Train, Then Train Again
Its time to raise the visibility and
the importance of the work instruc
-
tions. Your company has put a great
deal of effort and expense into com
-
pleting these instructions. If they are
incorrect, they need to be updated.
After they are updated, all employees,
both new and experienced, should
be trained and tested on the instruc
-
tions. All employees should then be
informed of the consequences of not
following the instructions.
The “head” or toilet on a subma
-
rine is equipped with critical process
instructions. There are consequences
if these steps are not followed exact
-
ly. If the process is not completed in
the correct order, the important work
you just completed will be forcefully
returned to you. The same is true for
the manufacturing processes. If care
is not taken, and production steps are
not followed, most likely the work you
just completed will be returned to you.
Maybe not as forcefully as the subma
-
rine work, but it will be returned.
y
Mike Burk is the North American technical
representative for Sparklike.
F E N E S T R A T I O N F U N D A M E N T A L S
Mike.Burk@sparklike.com
The ‘head’ or toilet on a submarine is equipped with critical
process instructions. ... If the process is not completed in the
correct order, the important work you just completed will be
forcefully returned to you.

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© 2018 Copyright Key Media and Research All rights reserved. 
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.