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  1. #41
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    Round of applause for being 25 and doing well, with employees. Also for doing the firing together with the foreman. Still a crappy thing to have to do, but your business will be better for it, and doing it together will do a lot for the relationship & respect between you and the foreman.

    It's probably wise that you hired someone older and with more life experience to help manage the business too. (I'm only 30. If I were in your shoes, I'd want an "experienced" person to draw on.) If your foreman doesn't think the shop guys respect him, just remind him that YOU respect him. Some of my former bosses would say "you have to earn respect." It's hard to go out and "earn" respect, but paying it forward is a good way to start.

    If you genuinely trust the foreman's skills & abilities to manage the shop guys, then let him know that you respect him, that you value his insight & opinions, and that you trust his decisions. Even if they lead to a mistake, you can see past the mistake provided everyone learns something. If you treat him this way, encourage him to treat the guys that way as well. The respect will make its way around before too long.

    Best of luck, and God Bless.

  2. #42
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    My thoughts on this are, if you are civil, fair, provide a decent place to work with a clean restroom, and they understand the job expectations and agreed to the wages and benefits, then you have every right to expect them to work for you, period end of sentence. If they won't, why are you paying them? Let them be some other boss's problem.
    I agree, fair, civil, blah blah blah.. Every boss should be that way.. But, its not just the boss that effects the
    work environment... Those issues need to be corrected.

    Civil and Fair is not always proper motivation for your people... The cashier at Walmart was civil and fair, I'm
    in no way motivated to make her money..

    When you want to dip your Twinkie, are you "civil and fair" to your better half? Does she find "Civil and Fair"
    to be enough motivation to put funny sausage shaped things in her mouth..

    Sad as it seems on the surface, the same tricks you pull to try and get laid (and laid well!!)
    are the same tricks you need to pull to get the most out of your employees..

    "I really like that new dress"...."those parts looked really nice"
    "Thanx for picking up my Viagra script"..."Thanx for sweeping up that mess"
    "Wow! the house looks great today(clean)"..."Wow!!! you got those parts done quick"..

    Same thing.. You want something so you "motivate".. Manipulate... And it is manipulation,
    all management is.. But is it a crime to make people feel good about themselves, to make them
    happy, to make them feel needed and wanted??? If you're a good person, you should want to
    do that anyways, but sometimes you have to go out of your way and consciously do it...

    If the repercussions of you treating people well is a roll in the hay, or 20% more good parts
    in the box at the end of the day... That's just a bonus.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobw View Post
    I agree, fair, civil, blah blah blah.. Every boss should be that way.. But, its not just the boss that effects the
    work environment... Those issues need to be corrected.

    Civil and Fair is not always proper motivation for your people... The cashier at Walmart was civil and fair, I'm
    in no way motivated to make her money..

    When you want to dip your Twinkie, are you "civil and fair" to your better half? Does she find "Civil and Fair"
    to be enough motivation to put funny sausage shaped things in her mouth..

    Sad as it seems on the surface, the same tricks you pull to try and get laid (and laid well!!)
    are the same tricks you need to pull to get the most out of your employees..

    "I really like that new dress"...."those parts looked really nice"
    "Thanx for picking up my Viagra script"..."Thanx for sweeping up that mess"
    "Wow! the house looks great today(clean)"..."Wow!!! you got those parts done quick"..

    Same thing.. You want something so you "motivate".. Manipulate... And it is manipulation,
    all management is.. But is it a crime to make people feel good about themselves, to make them
    happy, to make them feel needed and wanted??? If you're a good person, you should want to
    do that anyways, but sometimes you have to go out of your way and consciously do it...

    If the repercussions of you treating people well is a roll in the hay, or 20% more good parts
    in the box at the end of the day... That's just a bonus.
    All true. But, you have to accomplish all that in a genuine manner. Just saying. You have to mean it.
    I happen to have an extremely sensitive bullshit meter. I can tell if a compliment is genuine from a mile away.
    And, if it is just hot air. It can be counter-productive, for me anyways.
    I agree with Bob 100%, I'm just saying, if you actually do appreciate somebody doing a good job, when you are telling them they did a good job?
    The compliment will have much greater merit.
    I believe this is what made the guy I mentioned a few posts back with the office in the sky, not an ass-hole.
    He was a hard driving dude. Pushed everybody. He wanted his guys sweating. But, you could tell he genuinely appreciated it.

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    Maybe it’s already too late, don’t know. I have made a peculiar experience eight years ago when I observed tension building up between a mate and boss. He, the worker, was very young. First we all contributed his attitudes and behaviour to his age. He peed into a coolant tank once and did more things aside civilisation but then it made click in my head as I understood that he was totally underchallenged, more than that: bored. From a course we had together I knew him as a fast and precise worker, he delivered a first part as the first of our group and got a 6 for it, 6 being the best mark.

    It is possible that the so-called slacker is actually very good. I think it can’t be hard to find out. Pick one of the heavy technical problems you know of and give him a chance, let him find a solution.

    A good foreman would have tried something the like. Somehow do I have the impression that slack lies with someone between you and the workers.

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    Eventually, working solo doesn't seem like such a bad idea when you consider the amount of bullshit you have to go through to manage a bunch of people.

    You can remind your employees that they've got to make it worth your while to have them on board, because a large portion of the work burden exists because they create the financial burden. They aren't there to 'fill in', you're damn well busting your ass to bring in extra work on their behalf.

    You didn't start out with this giant wall of work waiting to be done, you built the wall based on growing financial needs of your organization. You can fire the whole damn works and get by on a fraction of the work if they don't give two shits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mechanola View Post
    He peed into a coolant tank once and did more things aside.
    Instant, on the spot, termination!!!!! Trying to work with someone like this is a fool's errand.

  8. #47
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    Hope things improve.

    1. First, management is difficult.
    2. Second, almost all people/personnel/workers could produce more than 200% of what You are doing now.
    Fact.

    I have proven 1. and 2. in multiple industries, multiple countries, multiple languages, over 20+ years.

    Talking to the workers is very helpful.
    Paying them extra on *spot* results is very helpful.
    Paying them MUCH more on continued results/productivity is what YOU want to do.

    EVERY single really valuable/good company pays their workers double anyone else, at their level.
    Fact.

    As an owner/manager, Your challenge is finding a way to pay everyone double, for 5x the productivity.
    Often, mostly, the workers will tell You how, and what they need to do so.

    My goal is to pay my workers 6000$, so they can make me a gross margin of 18.000$, per month.
    I have often been spectacularly successful at it.

    The second-order determinant of not less than 25% total costs, is that workers paid so well, never ever mind overtime, weekends, etc.
    They all prefer to help the company, so that their pay/bonuses increases, and stays more stable.
    My experience, my results, so far.
    Fwiw.

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  10. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by hanermo View Post
    Hope things improve.

    1. First, management is difficult.
    2. Second, almost all people/personnel/workers could produce more than 200% of what You are doing now.
    Fact.

    I have proven 1. and 2. in multiple industries, multiple countries, multiple languages, over 20+ years.

    Talking to the workers is very helpful.
    Paying them extra on *spot* results is very helpful.
    Paying them MUCH more on continued results/productivity is what YOU want to do.

    EVERY single really valuable/good company pays their workers double anyone else, at their level.
    Fact.

    As an owner/manager, Your challenge is finding a way to pay everyone double, for 5x the productivity.
    Often, mostly, the workers will tell You how, and what they need to do so.

    My goal is to pay my workers 6000$, so they can make me a gross margin of 18.000$, per month.
    I have often been spectacularly successful at it.

    The second-order determinant of not less than 25% total costs, is that workers paid so well, never ever mind overtime, weekends, etc.
    They all prefer to help the company, so that their pay/bonuses increases, and stays more stable.
    My experience, my results, so far.
    Fwiw.
    I agree with all that. And, it is pretty much the reason I am self employed.

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    quota bonus program

    done

  12. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motorsports-X View Post
    quota bonus program

    done
    That is a great idea in a production shop.
    Not so great in a job shop.

    Since the OP mentioned spending a good portion of his day quoting, I am going to guess he is not a high production facility?

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    I had a competitor once that couldn't manage people. He fired his whole shop one day, and hired them all back a few days later! He did it a second time, and this time I got three really good new employees. He finally got smart and played to his strength instead of his weakness. He made one of best guys the foreman, and no longer dealt directly with any other employee. He became very successful after that. He focused on what he was good at and let the foreman handle dealing with the employees.

    I have actually made this recommendation to a number of business owners, and every one that has followed this advice has been happy with the results. I have suggested this to my current boss, but he isn't buying it. NO,I don't want the job! However we have a sharp young guy that would absolutely kick ass as the manager here.

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    OK, I am going to weigh in with what I did in the early 1990s. Yes that was a long time ago but it worked back then. I started out as a one man shop in 1984 at the age of 17 while in high school. Of course I made mistakes with employees as I was a driven guy with no management experience but I learned early on that compliments go a long ways in motivating employees.

    As the business grew I always went out in the shop a couple times a day and talked to everyone there about what was going on and to see if there was anything that needed to be addressed. I was always the first one in and the last one out. I treated my employees as friends and truly felt like they were. They probably didn't think of me that way, I am not delusional.

    By the time we hit about 10 employees I was still working actively in the shop and made it a point to know everyone well and continue to spend time with them and keep them feeling as though I cared about them because I did. One odd thing was that everyone in the company was there because they knew someone else that worked there before they started. We often hired friends and neighbors of current employees and trained them for their jobs. One of my best machinists was the son of my bearing salesman. He had almost no experience but his dad who I knew fairly well said he would love to work in a shop like mine. I hired him and trained him well and he was a great employee.

    As time went on and we grew into more products I continued to hire smart people with remarkably little experience and we trained them.

    We created a culture where everyone was tied to someone else and we were all working hard together for success.

    To do this we added things like lunch on Fridays, random cash bonuses and gave raises based on accomplishments not on a yearly basis but whenever I felt they deserved it. Everyone worked their asses off and seemed happy with their rapid advancements and continuous praise where it was earned.

    The business grew rapidly and we added a lot more people. If someone wasn't contributing the other employees would give them shit about it before I had to.

    We added Beer o-clock on Fridays at the end of the day and everyone had a beer or two. No more.

    When we started to work more Saturdays we added Breakfast from McDonalds.

    Everyone worked there asses off and I would show my appreciation by sending my book keeper to the bank for cash and I would hand it out at lunch.

    In 1992 I had a number of guys in their 20's making $50,000 plus a year. One guy in his 20's broke $80,0000. We paid well.

    The business went through some serious down times where all we were doing was designing new products and making inventory we hoped to sell. During these times everyone feared lay offs because they all new we had hardly any orders. At it's worst we never laid anyone off but cut all overtime. I was clearly stupid but then things would turn around and the new products sold well and the inventory would allow us to meet our new demands.

    Ok so here is the part where I get to a point. I made sure that my staff knew they were appreciated and supported and they performed to show that.

    We grew the company 70-110% year over year for 13 years to $5,500,000 in sales and made the INC 500 the year I sold it in 1995 with 35 employees. I absolutely couldn't have done it without a great group of people who felt a sincere dedication to the company and each other. There were some huge bonuses to employees after the company sold.

    Even at that size I greeted everyone every day and asked how things were going. They knew I meant it and would talk openly with me about any difficulties that I might be able to address. I believe the felt supported in their jobs as that was my intention.

    It is too bad the new company cut the Friday lunches, Saturday breakfasts and Beer O-clock on Fridays. They also cut the unlimited overtime that was nearly always available. Some of the brightest people went on to start some very successful companies and for that I am proud.

    I lasted 15 months after the sale and we grew to 85 employees. The entire culture changed and we hit $13,000,000 in sales. I sold it too soon,

    I miss those times, they were really fun.

    Dan

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  16. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by garyhlucas View Post
    However we have a sharp young guy that would absolutely kick ass as the manager here.
    You've mentioned several times in the past, how you have managed to identify good managers, even if they were young.

    What traits did they posses, that made you think/realize they'd be good managers?

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    hello,
    This subject has a profound impact on our business. To have a "Foreman" in a small shop is not the way to go. If you choose to go that way, you immediately loose your prime producer. Instead of that, make everyone accountable of what they need to do.

    On the subject of compensation, do not be compelled to pay "tip top" wages.

    Listen to me on this, what good machinist/tool,mold makers need most, is a stable, reliable, and most important, is a respectful place to work. Good Men will never work for free, treat them with respect and they will never leave you for more $.
    otrlt

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    Lots of great stuff so just another 2c.

    Have an off site meeting with your supervisor and bring notepads and calculator along with some decent log of past years work.

    Discuss at length where you ate at and what you expect now with current limitations of attitude and all other impediments.

    Then set clear and reasonable goals and expectations as everyone including you have substantial room to improve.

    Once the vision is set then discuss what "tools" the supervisor will need to execute the plan.

    Make it clear that metrics will be created and reviewed weekly and pay will be based on meeting and exceeding metrics.

    Make it clear that you will supply the tools then get out of his way.
    You do this via a company lunch meeting where the vision and expectations ate passed on to the team.

    State the clear chain of command and how metrics will be applied.

    Self empowerment of everyone also helps.

    Everyone is responsible for their own worth.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337Z using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by otrlt View Post
    treat them with respect and they will never leave you for more $.
    Sure they will, it's only a question of how much more. A guy can't put respect in his wallet, can't buy a house with it or a new truck.

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    Hello Tony,
    I will not be disrespectful of your reply, but your suggestion is obviously from a larger company's point of view. In smaller companies, you cannot have a supervisor or leadman. If you do, what happens is that you treat skilled men like children.
    otrlt

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    Hello oldwrench,
    Thanks wrench, this is a very important subject. Pay has little effect on how a true craftsman does his job, once his performance is recognized, a good manager must take note of it. If he is underpaid and leaves, management failed. In todays world of this lost art, management should know second chances are becoming rare.
    otrlt

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    Many ways to run a shop. Many work for different types of people while fail for others.
    You have to find your own. You take ideas from here or there, adjust your thinking, rinse, wash, repeat.
    At 60 you will look back at your 25 year old self and wonder what you where thinking.
    Metrics are huge important, what seems like easy common sense up front often is not.
    Stepping outside your box can be important. Others do not think like you and you can make them do so. Get this point early in your career.
    There is the whole deal of understanding people, personalities and what they respond or rebel to. One sees some of that here.
    There is no "right" answer. Welcome to being a manager.
    Paul Simon - 5� Ways to Leave Your Lover (Audio) - YouTube

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    Quote Originally Posted by otrlt View Post
    In smaller companies, you cannot have a supervisor or leadman. If you do, what happens is that you treat skilled men like children.
    otrlt
    Just an observation, but I don't think the OP's grand purpose for having a foreman is for him to be the babysitter. It sounds like that's what's going on currently, but it doesn't sound like anyone is content with the way things are. Thus, why the OP is asking for tips on how to improve...

    Tell me, what is wrong with hiring someone to help manage the shop employees & tasks, so that you can focus on the other half of what it takes to run the business? What if the OP chose to hire a salesman, estimator and customer service person, so the OP could focus on the shop employees & tasks? Is that better or worse? It sounds like the OP hired the shop foreman, so the OP could focus on what he's already proven to be good at - growing the business... Sounds like a wise move to me.


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