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WE NEED TO KNOW WHY!


As the new plant manager walked through the factory he noticed, in the distance, a worker hit the machine he was at with a large hammer. The manager stopped and watched the worker. It was remarkable, every three minutes the worker would pick up a large ballpeen hammer and strike the machine a savage blow.


The manager turned to the area foreman, who was walking with him, and asked why the employee was striking the machine with a ballpeen hammer. The foreman nonchalantly replied: "That is what we always do."


The plant manager finished the inspection tour and returned to his office.


The next day, at the morning department manager's meeting, the plant manager asked if anyone knew why there was an employee beating on his machine with a ballpeen hammer. None of the production managers had an answer. The procurement and supply manager made the statement: "Probably because we only stock ballpeen hammers."


By this time, irritation could be easily discerned on the plant manager's face. He stated, rather firmly: "You mean we have an employee beating a piece of equipment with a hammer and no one knows why?"


An old and rather crusty maintenance manager spoke up: "Did this happen at the annealing furnaces?"


"Yes," replied the plant manager.


Rubbing his jaws with a large knurled hand, the maintenance manager slowly commented: "I bet it was at the 101 line. About 10-years ago that line had a froze link in it and every time the link came around to the center idler cog you had to hit the machine on the idler bearing mount to keep the chain from hanging up. But we fixed that chain a long time ago."


The room grew very quiet as the plant manager leaned forward and gently said, "Ten years ago."


"Yep, at least 10-years, just as soon as we got a new link," replied the maintenance foreman.


The annealing department manager blurted out, "No one ever told us that the machine was fixed!"


The plant manager leaned back in his chair and looked up at the ceiling thinking, "I wonder just how many people in this factory don't know...why."


He slowly leaned forward and placed his hands, face down, on the table in front of him. He spoke gently, "When our people do something without knowing why they are doing it we have reduced them to nothing more than an extension of the machine they are working at. We cannot build a quality workforce unless everyone knows...WHY!"

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