Technical Journal pt.1

First, thanks for all the suggestions on material you want to see from these technical journals published by what was formerly Bobbin Magazine (previous entries). Also, it’d be great if you could cite the issue month and year of each article that interests you.

In this post, I will write about the following articles you requested:

  • The How and Why of Temporary Piece Rates May 89
  • Using Pre-Employment Testing to Improve Profits Nov 89
  • Balancing Inventories: Matching Expectations to Reality Nov 89

In addition, I’ll give a brief rundown of these articles -all from Aug 89.

  • Merchandising Calendar
  • Tubular Knitwear’s Answer to Automated Cutting
  • Industrial Sewing Machine Technicians
  • Skil-Sew and Flexible Manufacturing
  • How to Make High-Tech Presses Work Better for You (both parts)
  • A Stone Washing Exercise: Some Answers
  • Discretionary Profits

The reason all of these articles are lumped together is because, well, I don’t know how to say this nicely but the titles are the best thing about them. I’m not holding out on you. Like today, titling is everything. At the same time, some really great articles have lousy titles. Examples of great material with snooze titles are JASEM, the series on Material Utilization, Multiple Attributes/Criteria for Evaluating Manufacturing Systems (albeit deep with cool polar graphs), Consider Your Options and How Much is Technology’s Risk Worth?. Since few of you are likely to indicate interest in things like these based on the titles, I’ll be sure to highlight them anyway. Lucky you. Perhaps you’ll find something of greater compelling interest, such as counting the number of wales per square inch in your office carpeting. If you are still there, here’s a short review with comments on each so you can see I did put myself through the tedium of having read them.

The How and Why of Temporary Piece Rates
I had high expectations but it’s not what I thought it would be. I didn’t think it was particularly useful but you can be the judge (904kb). My thinking is that most of you would be interested in knowing how to set up piece rates period, and it doesn’t do that. It assumes you already have a well defined system and are introducing a new kind of product for which you don’t have enough experience upon which to develop compensation. I was uncomfortable with some of the discussion regarding sewing operators but I admit to being a little defensive about management’s attitudes towards those who work on the floor.

Using Pre-Employment Testing to Improve Profits
This article is mis-titled. It should be called “Why you should use pre-employment testing” but it doesn’t tell you how to do it beyond these four bulleted points under “Developing a Test Battery”:

  1. The first step of the validation project entrails breaking down a job to its essential attributes. This is called Job Analysis. The Job Analysis is the cornerstone of the validation project.
  2. Once the job analysis has been performed, tests must be developed which measure these essential attributes. There are two different types of employment tests, written tests and sample work tests.
  3. After the tests have been developed, the next step in a validation is the performance appraisal. Coming up with accurate ways to measure a person’s performance on the job is a somewhat difficult task particularly for managerial and supervisory jobs where a person does not directly produce a product.
  4. After performance and test data have been gathered, they undergo statistical and logical analysis to see if there is a significant relationship between the tests and on the job performance. The most important information gathered in this test is which tests predict job performance and will be good pre-employment screens. If a test is shown to predict performance, it is a valid test.

As you can see, this is pretty obvious. As I said, it’s mostly about why one should have testing and conveniently enough, the article’s author is a consultant who develops testing materials for plants. While this article is a bit disappointing, there are other articles in the journals on related topics that are interesting and should provide some guidelines toward selecting good sewing operator prospects.

Balancing Inventories: Matching Expectations to Reality
This one is only useful if you’re a large push manufacturer (or want to become one) and sell to department stores. Basically, it amounts to forecasting demand across thousands of skus. I feel comfortable omitting this kind of stuff because most of the people on that level who visit the blog -and there are many impressive urls!- are here looking for the basics. It’s not a bad article at all, just mismatched to our purposes.

Merchandising Calendar
This wasn’t a calender, disappointing. It was closer to a glossary (short, one page, lots of white space). I may feature some of those terms in a future entry.

Tubular Knitwear’s Answer to Automated Cutting
This article was about a particular kind of machine, a Bierrebi, a totally automated (meaning you’re processing thousands of templated type units) machine for big producers. It was in depth, a total machinery geek-out.

Industrial Sewing Machine Technicians
This was about the need for having qualified sewing machine techs. As though any of us needed any convincing. Written by an instructor at George Brown College where they train these kind of people.

Skil-Sew and Flexible Manufacturing
Disappointing article, ostensibly about training in flexible manufacturing (limited intellectual generosity) but it was really a soft sell for the consulting and training services offered by its author. Still, there is some information in the form of case studies that will be useful when I write about training sewing operators.

How to Make High-Tech Presses Work Better for You (both parts)
Ugh. This was two part folksy interview with this guy who’d gone to college for business management but found himself waylaid by his love of switches, controllers and related software integrated into continuous fusing machines. I bet your little heart is going pitter patter, pitter patter. A love story that only the most perverse and twisted of geeks could enjoy. I tell you, the things I put myself through for you. I deserve donations!

A Stone Washing Exercise: Some Answers
Too arcane even for me. If you intended to open a laundry, it’d be useful. However, if you were opening a laundry, my time would be better spent getting you an internship over at Border Laundry in El Paso TX. Seriously, I have a contact there if you’re interested.

Discretionary Profits
Not very useful and in some respects, rather obvious. A brief discussion of economic policy, taxation, strategy and the need of reinvestment of profits into plant infrastructure.

That’s it for now.

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One comment

  1. Debra says:

    I had the opportunity to observe one of these tubular knitwear automated cutting machines at a knitwear plant in Cressona, Pa.
    I do not recall if it was a Bierrebi.
    It was something to see.
    I also had a look at an industrial automated tubular jersey(thread) knitting machine, which was similar to an industrial sweater (yarn) knitting machine, which I watched operate at Winona Mills, Wis.
    My point is if anyone has worked in the industry in knits, most(not all) are tubular goods. To the best of my knowledge tubular goods can not be rolled as one ply wovens are. For those of you who are not familiar with tubular knits, as a “tube” is knitted it needs to be stored in a pile where the fabric is laid back and forth over itself again and again (as an accordian standing on end, flattened),then course it is usually wrapped in plastic on a skid for storing or shipping to a sewn goods manufacturer.
    Anyway..back to the automated cutter….at the beginning of this huge machine, there are long arms that pick up the tube from the top of a pile and rotate the circular tube in such a fashion it is laid out prepared to be fed in the automated cutting machine with out twists and wrinkles.
    Then the correct amount of plies will be cut and piled on a type of conveyor that will move it along(after the ply amount is entered in the computer data located on the side of the machine which tells it when to stop) also the length of the cut is calculated into the data as well, so the machine knows how long to make the lay. now this lay is moving into a large metal box type structure with a viewing window so the human operator can observe the cut, which is made completly by die cuts. The die come down like a cookie cutter and cuts through the fabic plies, lifts up , moves that “cut” forward out of the metal box structure (while also pulling the next section of plies into the box)and down a long slanted metal table where the excess fabric (like the excess dough when cutting cookies) is pulled away (by a person) and slid into waste drums, while also bundling the separate piece piles of the garment and stacking them in a bin ready to go to the sewing floor.
    That is my memory of this machine, I may have forgotten a few things but that is the nuts and bolts of it.
    In the same plant I also observed an automated sewing machine that performed 3 operations by itself with a human watching more that one machine at a time, to make sure it didn’t malfunction, if the machine did the person would correct the problem (unless a mechanic needed to be called for help) and pick up where it left off. Like industrial embroidery machines run all in a row with a “live” person trouble shooting.
    tee..hee…as a long ago production sewer i found this machine doing the work of 3 (human) operaters quit sad, because there I saw 3 jobs lost in the name of progess.
    And back to the automated tubular knit cutter, it put me in mind of an “Easy Bake Oven” that I and a few of my childhood friends enjoyed when we were young! Insert the cakemix in the pan in one end, anxiously waiting for the pan to come out the other end all baked and ready to eat!

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