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Creating a decision tree for internal customer so they can decide what work to send me and what work to outsource.

First, working with other people you will learn more, unless they are idiots. Well, even if they are idiots, you will learn how not to do stuff.
One warning, if it isn't a promotion your current boss might be able to block it. just putting that out there so you don't get pissed off if it happens
 
First, working with other people you will learn more, unless they are idiots. Well, even if they are idiots, you will learn how not to do stuff.
One warning, if it isn't a promotion your current boss might be able to block it. just putting that out there so you don't get pissed off if it happens
Yep. I am well aware of the possibility that my boss will block the movement of his employees. I very much disagree with this practice. And they don't tell you when it happens. But I think it does.

Also agree working with others. Even if they are less skilled or on the same level. Can see some ideas that I didn't think of. The idea of more heads are better than 1. But in a one man shop. I never have to navigate being in someone's way or having to worry about being compared and being thought of as the worst guy in the shop. But I guess that is part of what makes you better. If you suck, it becomes apparent in a small shop. If It is one man shop. No way to know if I could be faster or better.
 
Thank you to anyone who is still following. I know this thread has kind of been all over the place. But I feel it does still fit the topic of shop ownership / management.
So interesting update on this twisting turning thread.
I reached out to another internal machine shop in my company. They are a few miles down the road in a different department. But still with in the same company. Since they are different department we do not share work or resources. However I do know that some of my customers utilize them for some bigger jobs, (just like they should have for this big job I have that is causing my issues. But that shop is busy like I am too.) But anyway, I reached out just to ask how they deal with these types of issues. [switching priorities, deadlines, communicating completion dates, etc.]

Basically he told me they have the same issues. But then he emailed me again and said they have an open req, and that I should apply. Then he invited me to come check out their shop on a Sat. So I did. They are a 4 man shop, but are down to 3 and need a fourth. They have 3 vertical milling centers, a manual bridge port, cnc lathe, router for sheet metal and better bigger brake. Overall working with a much larger budget (think shrink fit tooling, probes, tool setters, etc.).

When I took the tour of his shop, we also discussed the issues I have been having and the stresses of the job. I clearly asked him and he explained that all that stuff gets funneled to him and that the other guys just focus on the actual work. So he is sort of the Forman of this small shop. He is slightly higher on the pay band then I am now, and makes me feel like dealing with all that stuff is why. And I probably should be on that pay band also for running my shop all by my self.

But anyway. The prospect of keeping my current pay band. With less stress of dealing with these fighting customers demanding priority and fighting getting blamed for missed dead lines etc.. While also being able to run more sophisticated equipment and work with people of higher skill and more experience. All seems great and a no brainer. The only down side I could see is that I have gotten used to working alone. But actually working with other people in anyway might be good for my mental health anyway.

The only stress I have with this decision is that it will definitely upset my current bosses. To find a replacement for me would be a big undertaking and require some transition time. I explained this to the "new shop"s Forman, and he said you need to do what is best for you. That is what the company does. What is best for it, not you.

Also even if this whole place goes under and I run into the same fears of shutting down a shop. This would be good for my resume to work with better equipment in a higher demand shop.

Any other advice out there. Is greatly appreciated.

Make the move. Simple decision if all your benefits etc stay with you.

New toys to play with, new people to learn from, less stress.

Fuck your boss, you owe him the exact amount of loyalty & consideration he's given to you to date, which appears to be none.

Do it ASAP.

PDW
 
@Rough-cutter, there's a lot in what you've posted. But I also get the impression you're a "glass is half empty" kind of guy. As are many of the others here. Case in point - for a more ambitious person:
He is slightly higher on the pay band then I am now, and makes me feel like dealing with all that stuff is why. And I probably should be on that pay band also for running my shop all by my self.
Fantastic! Now you're in a great position to ask for a raise. You can go to your boss and explain how you're fulfilling a similar role and should be paid accordingly. He might respond that this other guy is "managing people" - management always likes to think that is a reason to be paid more. You can simply respond, no, you should actually be paid even more than him because you need to run the shop and produce the parts, do more with less, so if anything you should be paid even more. But perhaps you'll settle for the same, dunno.

Seriously, you're in a good position. You can tell him you'd prefer to work somewhere else for the same pay if those additional tasks were lifted off of you, and you know that's possible. (other shop). But I get the impression you're not comfortable with this conversation. You write extremely well, but perhaps are less comfortable with oral conversation/confrontation?

And is that you? Do you have that ambition? I'm still not sure if you want to lead this shop, or would rather be the worker bee under that other shop foreman.

There's a lot of management dysfunction in what you've written. But a lot of that is par for the course. I'm guessing you work for a defense contractor. While your immediate boss doesn't come off the greatest in your writing, I'm going to step back a bit and give him some credit. He's managed this shop "successfully" (it still exists, which is good!) for decades, it seems. Do give him respect for that. He's privy to some details you're not and generally I actually think he has your back. Otherwise he'd be asking you to publish impossible expected completion dates, if he was out to get you like so many have written. Honestly, I look at a lot of your posts and think "Wow, what an easy, low stress place to work!".

It's not clear to me where this "stress" you speak of comes from. You, your boss, ??? It seems like the clients are complaining (and mainly one) but your management is on-board with just having them complain. And, depending what else is going on, that may actually be the best course of action. The world, and your company, does not have unlimited resources to do everything. If they did, there wouldn't be a challenge in anything. Life is about allocating limited resources in the best way possible. The best way does not mean that everyone is going to be happy about everything. And you have to understand that stress and not take things personally. You just try to execute in the best way possible given the situation at hand. You're not going to change the management structure single-handedly. And even if you could, that might not be the best course of action - once you get there, maybe they are doing some things right. Doctors on the battlefield regularly have to triage patients. They know some patients they could save may die, but it's for the best because overall they'll save more. Your management has decided they want some internal capability, but that doesn't mean it has to be everything.
Also even if this whole place goes under and I run into the same fears of shutting down a shop. This would be good for my resume to work with better equipment in a higher demand shop.
This depends on where you want to go in your career. There are advantages to both. If you're looking to be more of a foreman, or take over running a shop, maybe another internal shop at a different company, smaller or larger, or even run your own shop someday, your current position may be better. You're acquiring a lot of skills a lot of machinists never get a chance to have. OTOH if you really just want to apply to a shop as another programmer in response to an ad for someone who can do that for a Haas with a 5-axis trunnion on the table, the other shop is probably better. I'd stay where you are, personally, and get more of the "working with others" from your interactions with internal clients. I think there's more room to grow where you're at. But that is just me.

I'd go back to where you started in this thread. Implement the decision tree. Make sure you don't repeat that mistake with the one PM. And grow from there. It seems much of what is going on is venting about management dysfunction. But you're unlikely to avoid that, generally. While the grass is always greener somewhere else, wait until you actually get there and poke your head in the weeds.
 
Fuck your boss, you owe him the exact amount of loyalty & consideration he's given to you to date, which appears to be none.
It's hard to tell with what he's written. I'm not sure that I'd agree, also not sure that @Rough-cutter is interpreting everything his boss is doing correctly. His boss doesn't what him promising anything to anyone, really, in part to make sure he (Rough) is not blamed for anything. That's some amount of loyalty and consideration. It's not the way I'd do things and I don't agree with this approach at all, but with the exception of one internal client it seems to have worked.

@Rough-cutter, you seem to have increased the shop output dramatically over the previous person in that position. Was that asked of you or did you take it upon yourself to show off your greater capabilities?
 
Fantastic! Now you're in a great position to ask for a raise. You can go to your boss and explain how you're fulfilling a similar role and should be paid accordingly. He might respond that this other guy is "managing people" - management always likes to think that is a reason to be paid more. You can simply respond, no, you should actually be paid even more than him because you need to run the shop and produce the parts, do more with less, so if anything you should be paid even more. But perhaps you'll settle for the same, dunno.
I have had candid confrontational conversations with my boss about a real raise. About everything I am doing thst is far above and beyond what my predecessor did. Far beyond what most machinist have to deal with. He has agreed that I need more money and has told me he has pushed to get me "promoted". I have been officially passed up for that "promotion" for 3 years. And upper management of my department have added requirements of having certain trainings to be able to classify documents. In order to even be considered for any promotion. I have volunteered to get these trainings and certifications. The training is not avalible. And my boss says that is n9t my job and would not have time to do these classifications anyway. Also this "promotion" has no number attached to it. I directly asked, "what would this promotion mean for me financially anyway?". His response was, "You won't find that in writing anywhere, and it all depends on the situation". So another non answer.

Oh and this other internal shop I have applied for. Does not have this "classification training" requirement at all.

I will agree that my direct supervisor is not totally to blame and does seem to have my back. But the fact is there is serious disfunction. I think he was able to run my shop for decades. Because it ran itself. It had such little work and no one noticed the cost. Now we have had mergers, several upper management changes, total reorgs of departments. And there is a push to do more with less. And the lower work load is not acceptable as it was in the past.

Also this whole recent issue. My boss has told me a few times that he wants to get a meeting scheduled. With me, him, his boss, some other managers, to sort this out and come up with solutions. Now I understand we are all too busy for another meeting. And getting everyone's schedules aligned is hard. But to not even be able to get a meeting scheduled on the calendar for any time in the future should not take over 3 weeks to accomplish. It feels like someone does not want to have this meeting. Whomever that is. Is who I have a lack of respect for.

And yes your are right. I have been mostly just venting. And you are right the position I am in now is better for growth in management or higher level jobs. But for me. If I can get the same pay. (That promotion they have currently been dangling will never happen). For focusing more on the skills I care about. Sign me up.

And yes this disfunction will still exist and maybe this new shop could be closed. But in my opinion being able to work with more sifisticated equipment will be good on my resume. The world does not need more managers. They need more people that can actually do the work.
 
not clear to me where this "stress" you speak of comes from. You, your boss
The stress comes from. If we are not able to meet deadlines. That reduces our profit. And also increases the chance of losing future contracts. Which could then lead to lay off and shutting down department. We have seen this happen.

So we are doing what we can to meet deadlines. But have less staff. Less space. Less capitol investment. Less overall budget. While everything is costing more and more. Also while not managing projects properly. These deadlines are not even properly communicated. And it seems any suggestions to improve things are just not going to be implemented. It seriously feels like a slowly shrinking ship. And when the solution to every problem is to just outsource the work. That confirms my fear. So yeah. It is stressful. Unless I don't need a paycheck. And yes this same thing could happen in a different department. But I have to think about positioning myself to be more prepared for that.
 
So another quick update or lack there of on the situation. And an attempt to get back to what this thread was originally about.

I have presented my ideas of how to make it simpler or give instructions to a requestor as to weather they should request our shop do the job. Or try and outsource the job. My boss liked what I came up with but did not like the idea of communicating need dates / dead lines / estimated completion dates. My boss has told me on at least 3 occasions that That he is trying to get a meeting scheduled with His boss to go over this solution.

That meeting has not been scheduled and I have not heard any more on the issue. And I have noticed a drop off in work request. Which is not such a bad thing as I am starting to gain ground getting back to a lower queue. And this could be normal as our work load comes in waves. Seems to be the nature of project based funding. However I have noticed zero request or communication from the requestor that started this whole mess.

Now as to the topic of me switching departments.
1. I reached out to another internal machine shop in a different department to see how they handle these issues.
2. They invited me to come check out their shop on a Sat.
3. They invited me to apply to a new open req they had.
4. I took the week end to think about it. Then I applied first thing Mon.
5. They contacted me Tue. and I did an in person interview on Wed. with everyone in that shop and some managers.
6. They told me it would take HR about a week and a half to send out offer letters and let me know if I was chosen.
(not sure but that sounds to me like they did choose me?) So now I am waiting.

The reason I spell it out like that is because, I am in aww of how quickly they put together that interview. VS; in my current department how I cant even get a meeting scheduled. I mean; I agree that the last thing we need are more meetings. It is hard to get peoples schedules lined up. And I am sure every one has better things to do. But to not even be able to get it on the calendar for any time in the future after a month of trying to figure this out. That says a lot to me. And it is not good. Especially when my bosses boss, says he has an open door policy and he is the one who had a problem in the first place. So just basic lack of communication in my opinion.

Further more; and some of this part is complete speculation on my part. But this whole thing has me thinking that the reality is.
Fact:
1. requestor had an issue with longer than anticipated lead time. Even though no need dates where communicated.
2. This complaint comes down the chain and we fire back with no need dates were given and how can you expect to drop 6 months worth of work on me at once and have it all finished in four months.
3. I hear though my boss that the requestor has told their boss that they will just outsource everything from now on. My boss does not like that idea
Speculation:
4. my boss comes up with this idea to give instructions to requestor as to when they should outsource and when they should not.
5. requestor says it would be easier to just outsource and not deal with instructions at all.
6. bosses boss says whatever work he does not care. And in fact if the machine shop looses enough work. Could justify closing it and that cost is off of his over head.
More speculation: See if the cost goes up. If lead times go up. All of that falls onto the projects budget. Not my bosses or his bosses. So they don't care. And if something is wrong or lead times are an issue. They can just blame the vendor and do not have to deal with solving any of the issue.

On to the prospect of if I get this job in a different department. I am fully aware that I could run into the same head aches. But it seems like they have a working Forman in that shop. So he deals with all these head aches and I just do what he tells me. And even if they shut the place down. It would be good for my resume to do more sophisticated work on more sophisticated equipment. With people who are more experienced than myself. And keep the same pay and benefits. Seems like a no brainer.
I know a lot of people would say the down side is that I have my own shop all to my self now. But honestly I have done it this way for over 4 years and you start to go crazy working 100% alone 40 hrs / wk for years. So maybe in this new job I wont feel the need to write such long crazy rants on practical machinist forum.

And If for some reason I do not get that position. I do feel I was given a fair chance and I am good with whatever happens. And I am making a resolution right now to stop complaining so much. I really do have a good job. (except the raises suck, and I saw a thing with Dave Ramesy that perfectly explains my frustration with that). But in reality. Do something about it or shut up. And that is what I am doing. If it does not work out here. The next steps would be go to a different company. Or take the leap and go out on my own. I have wanted to for some time but am just chicken. I think I should just start with nights and weekends. Maybe get a mill for under $50k and put it in my garage. IDK, anyway crazy rant over. Thanks for all the support.
 
Well, I did not get that job to switch departments. It was odd because It felt like a shoe in. I even had one of the guys email me after interview to tell me he think it went very well. But oh well. Moving on.

My current boss said don't be afraid and don't hold back to communicate why I would be seeking other employment. Do I was finally brave enough to let him have it and not vent. But spell out my frustrations as I have here. But you know. Nothing changes. So I think my next step. And my next thread asking for advice will be. How to start my own small shop. I am thinking start out small. Something in my garage at home. Nights and weekends while keeping my main gig. And then quit my current job only when it makes sense financially. I know it is harder than it sounds. But it feels like there is demand and I could make a few bucks.

Thanks again.
 
Well, I did not get that job to switch departments. It was odd because It felt like a shoe in. I even had one of the guys email me after interview to tell me he think it went very well. But oh well. Moving on.

My current boss said don't be afraid and don't hold back to communicate why I would be seeking other employment. Do I was finally brave enough to let him have it and not vent. But spell out my frustrations as I have here. But you know. Nothing changes. So I think my next step. And my next thread asking for advice will be. How to start my own small shop. I am thinking start out small. Something in my garage at home. Nights and weekends while keeping my main gig. And then quit my current job only when it makes sense financially. I know it is harder than it sounds. But it feels like there is demand and I could make a few bucks.

Thanks again.
Sounds like a decent plan. Get a machine you can afford, a decent, quiet, compressor, and start acquiring tooling, workholding, and inspection tools. Let all the engineers you know (including those who have left the company) that you're an option for jobbing things out to. When you do get a job, communicate anticipated lead times. Stay in communication with any issues or schedule changes. It may be that having you do the work at home is preferable for them than having you do the work at the big company.
 
^+1
I used to do engineering prototypes for a local aerospace company. They had their own small in-house machine shop.
One of the guys retired, started his own shop and got a lot of work from them.
 
Sounds like a decent plan. Get a machine you can afford, a decent, quiet, compressor, and start acquiring tooling, workholding, and inspection tools. Let all the engineers you know (including those who have left the company) that you're an option for jobbing things out to. When you do get a job, communicate anticipated lead times. Stay in communication with any issues or schedule changes. It may be that having you do the work at home is preferable for them than having you do the work at the big company.
Appreciate the vote of confidence. To find a decent machine I can afford is my next hurdle. And I am thinking it might be best to climate control my garage too.
 
Take this advice without any malicious intent. Are you sure you want to be self-employed? Some people are better at being employees than they are at being the boss. Everything I have suggested in this and your other threads was centered around you taking control of what's going on, finding ways to delegate, finding ways to grow your current effort. Your responses to mine and others have been very passive. You seem to not be interested in conflict and when the ball hits you and lands at your feet, you back away instead of bending down, picking it up and running with it.

Being self-employed will require being very entrepreneurial. You'll need to solve the problems. You'll need to tell customers what to do when they aren't sure of what to do. You'll need to fire customers. You'll need to find new ones. You'll have to deal with the city and the county. You'll have to file quarterly earnings, collect sales tax, deal with banks, worry about a dozen types of compliance. It's the opposite of how you come across here.

If you're really ready to take that on, go for it but, when you step off from the safety of working for someone else, there's nobody coming to save you but you.
 
Take this advice without any malicious intent. Are you sure you want to be self-employed? Some people are better at being employees than they are at being the boss. Everything I have suggested in this and your other threads was centered around you taking control of what's going on, finding ways to delegate, finding ways to grow your current effort. Your responses to mine and others have been very passive. You seem to not be interested in conflict and when the ball hits you and lands at your feet, you back away instead of bending down, picking it up and running with it.

Being self-employed will require being very entrepreneurial. You'll need to solve the problems. You'll need to tell customers what to do when they aren't sure of what to do. You'll need to fire customers. You'll need to find new ones. You'll have to deal with the city and the county. You'll have to file quarterly earnings, collect sales tax, deal with banks, worry about a dozen types of compliance. It's the opposite of how you come across here.

If you're really ready to take that on, go for it but, when you step off from the safety of working for someone else, there's nobody coming to save you but you.
All very good points. I know it would be a ton more work. As far as stepping away from the ball instead of picking it up and running with it. Right now as an employee. There is no benifit to picking up the ball. And I do not have any authority to run the shop the way I want. I cannot tell customers whats what and or fire customers. I do not have the authorization to purchase equipment or how to schedule priorities etc. etc..

And my current issues I have in my current role. Basically we came to the conclusion that if I work 4X slower. Then things will go back to normal. Bigger projects will not take up my bandwidth and harm the ability for me to respond quickly to other needs. Because the bigger projects will not accept a 4X longer lead time. And if I am 4X slower. I do not run out of the other smaller work and on paper it looks like I am still busy. This is seriously what my boss discussed with me. Some people may thing wow I got it made. But I see it as a stupid way to run a business. You get a new employee (me) who kicks butt takes names and does 4X the work. And all it does is cause problems. I truly don't get it. And any mention of expanding capacity with a second mill or more equipment. Is met with no way. What if we run out of work. And all I think is if I am doing 4X the work. and there is more to be done. Then running out of work is not an issue, if we are able to meet deadlines.

It just feels like where I am has no interest in having or running a real machine shop. They just wanted a little tool room guy that can do a few things here and there. And then I came in and said Im an actual machinist and yes we can fabricate a lot of things on this Haas TM2.

So that is what makes me want to "Pick up the ball" and go home with it. But you make good points. All of this is harder than it sounds. and taking on real risk is not something my personality handles well. So yes. I have reservations. I think start as small as possible. and when going to work is loosing me money because I am not at home to run my home shop. That might be when to jump ship. And maybe that point will never come. But I don't know if I dont try.

I think step 1. insulate garage better. 2. put in a mr cool mini split. 2.5 create an LLC for tax purposes 3. find a local used cheapish mill that will fit in my garage. 4. tool up a bit. 5. hit Xeometry and see if I can pay off my machine and make some $$.

If anyone has better idea I am all ears. I know xeometry my not be the best way to find work. Im not sure. I will do some digging. Im am sure there is a thread on here about it.
 
Ok, big update. I understand by now I am just posting to the void and many may not care or be following this thread anymore. But I will spell it out anyway if not just for my own organization of thoughts.

So we finally had the big meeting,
In attendance
myself
my boss (he is retiring in 1 week)
His replacement (aka my new boss whom I have not met until this meeting)
Their boss (The big boss , or so I will call him here)
The offending requestor
Her boss
Someone else ( a customer I have done work for in the past, I think the real customer in this case who is using this requestor as a middle man / coordinator)
Some other manager, who I don't think will be in management anymore and they are creating a new role for him to coordinate these types of things.
[I know we are a crazy top heavy organization]

It went about how I expected. Luckily this was all over Zoom.

My boss did do some work and had a decent power point to communicate what types of work best fit the capability and explain why having such large assemblies bogs down our shop and may not be such a good idea to send to me.

The requestor goes into full self defense mode, explaining what happened what was wrong. What was miss communicated. Basically. "I did communicate and the shop did not" I caught her in full out lies about how she asked if I could take on the work and she left out the part where she did not ask for most of that work just dropped into my queue with out asking. Like I said full defense mode. I did not bother calling her on it because I know what that can devolve into and I was not directly asked to comment on it.

Then the bosses start throwing around ideas of what we could do to change the work request software. many ideas about having fields to answer questions. Then they came to the realization that changes to that software would be at least 12 months out from now because we are waiting in line for the people who do that to do that. They continued to throw around cooperate buzz words. each trying to get that promotion by coming up with a solution.
Keep in mind that none of these people have ever worked in or for a fabrication shop. my direct supervisor is the only one who has actually seen my shop.

Finally after almost an hour. Some one asks me if I have any thoughts. And I did make sure to listen to their corporate B.S. so I could somewhat reply. But basically I said;
"my pain point is this (That was one of those corporate buzz words they used, so I threw it back at them). "From what I understand, I am an R&D Engineering technical support mechanical fabrication lab. I am expected to be available and do quick jobs or prototypes for mechanical engineers. It is very difficult to be available and quick turn prototype interactions and modifications etc. When I have an assembly for your group that is tieing up the mill for over a month. So I do my best to squeeze in quick jobs. But lets say I get QTY: 20 (2 hour) jobs in a month. That delays my month long job by a week. And you don't like having your big month long job delayed by a week. and the mechanical engineers do not want to hear that their quick 2 hour job will need to wait a month before I get to them. and those jobs will pile up while I am working on the big month long job." and I said, I am 1 person supporting the fabrication needs of 600 people. Most of them do utilize outsourcing and I am here to serve their immediate need. Like maybe they purchased a dozen heat sinks. But now they are making changes and need to modify the ones they have instead of ordering more. Or they are making a prototype and will have many iterations before they finalize design and at that time they might outsource a dozen to do more experiments.

The reply to what I added to the meeting was not encouraging.

First someone chimed in and said "couldn't we hire someone to help you." To witch my boss and I replied then you would need to purchase more equipment and probably need more space. (luckily my new boss nodded in agreement to that).

Then someone said, "Did we find out if he could use that mill we have in another building (some time ago some engineering group bought a haas mini mill and it is sitting on the dock because it is too big to fit through the door of that building.) I said, "that mill might be a bit faster but is smaller. and I could go over their and run it but that would be right where we are now. Then my boss said even with running back and forth you might only get 30%-40% more output. To which I chimed in, "If I had 2 mills in the same room I might get 30%-40% more out put. " ( I know I could get more but he was guessing numbers so I just parroted him and thought better to not over promise output numbers).

Then I said the issue becomes that doing large month long jobs that tie up the mill hurt the primary objective to my shop to serve R&D engineering for quick turn quick need work.

Then the big boss says, That might of been your primary objective before but those days are over. I said you will have to decide which is the primary objective. He said, It sounds like you just want to outsource everything. I explained that my shop was never designed to compete with outside vendors. In order to do so would take a massive investment, In the 6 figure range or maybe even million (million sounds like a lot, but around here to get a space renovated by union onsite maintenance staff cost alot. Plus equipment, plus tooling plus personnel. so yeah Million or more.)

He said, all I know is that things are changing and doing things the way we use to is not what we are doing.

My boss said. So you want to tell engineering R&D that they do not have any priority in our fabrication shop? The big boss says, They are not a big enough customer to dictate what our mechanical shop is utilized for.

End of meeting.
My boss comes into my shop in person and we both talk shit about his boss for being an idiot for about 30 mins. So at this point I am not sure what will happen. I know I have requested funds for a second mill for years. I have requested a probe be put onto our current mill. You know minimum type of expenses to try and increase the capacity of my shop. But I have always been told no we don't have the money. So I do not understand where the big boss (I just call him that. really he is middle management and would have to go at least 2 levels up to approve such capital expenditures). Is talking about. no money to build a bigger shop not in this dept at least.

I know my current boss is worried about increasing the over head by adding equipment and personnel and what will happen when work dries up. Our work comes in waves. And he fears when the waves crash and no work. That is just more cost that needs to be justified. (hence why companies outsource things).

All and all it was good. I said what I needed to in the most professional way possible. And I have learned I truly work for people who do not know what they are doing.

So now I'm sure I will be educating my new boss on what is happening and I will just need to go along with whatever they decide.

It may be possible that my boss who is retiring has been the one blocking purchases of equipment. It might be that my next move on this forum is asking for advice on how to tool up a higher capacity cnc machine shop. But having the worry that if we are too big then we will need to down size if the work goes away.

In anycase. Thank you to anyone who has made it this far. I understand my post just turn into incoherent ramblings of he said he said. But at least I get it out here instead of in my wife's ear.

I have thought about emailing the big boss. But thought why waist my time. That guy is just ughhh. I mean he doesn't even know what a chip auger or flood coolant are. Both of which I do not have by the way.
 
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Ok, big update. I understand by now I am just posting to the void and many may not care or be following this thread anymore. But I will spell it out anyway if not just for my own organization of thoughts.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I am still following this. I appreciate your update.

I don’t have the shop experience others here have, so can’t offer much advise, but I will say, do not email your bosses boss, go through your boss even if it goes nowhere. You don’t want him pissed at you for going over his head.

You might want to start writing a business case for new equipment. List out the major equipment you think would be needed and how it will increase production in your department. As things come up, add to it until the day comes you are asked to justify expansion of the shop. For the business case, you will want to outline what it will cost and what the benefits are expected to be, ie., shorter lead times, able to make more complex components, etc. Put it in dollar terms, that is what managers understand.
 
You might want to start writing a business case for new equipment. List out the major equipment you think would be needed and how it will increase production in your department
I have done this 4 years in a row. Every year they ask for quotes and things we need for the shop. And in every case. I am detailed, explain the benefits, quantify the cost savings, and give cost estimates.

The answer is always. We just don't have the money for that. But this has always been my boss telling me that. So I don't know if that gets passed on to his boss.

But this is what is so crazy to me. Can't get $70k for a laser to quickly cut sheet metal. Can't get a press brake that is more accurate and bend thicker material. We just do not have the budget for any of that. Or so I have been told. So how could we possibly move to a bigger shop with more mills and more people. I just don't understand
And that is when I remember. This guy truly is dumb.
 
I know my current boss is worried about increasing the over head by adding equipment and personnel and what will happen when work dries up. Our work comes in waves. And he fears when the waves crash and no work. That is just more cost that needs to be justified. (hence why companies outsource things).
How can they justify building and maintaining a parking lot big enough for everyone's vehicles, when it sits mostly unused over the weekend?

The fact is, if you want to be able to handle surge demand, you have to have that level of capacity, and it will be underutilized at every other time. If you set your capacity at anything less than surge capacity, then you will be unable to meet surge demand, and will be force to outsource and/or prioritize.

Did you mention lead-time estimates at your meeting? For me, that would have been the first words out of my mouth.
 
The answer is always. We just don't have the money for that. But this has always been my boss telling me that. So I don't know if that gets passed on to his boss.
It could be your boss is blocking it, it could also be you are not putting it in terms the bean counters understand, or getting the right people on board. At a company I used to work for, we had a big induced draft fan that ran on a VFD and had a soft starter as a back up. The VFD failed shortly before I started working there, I wrote a proposal to get a new VFD, it was a no brainer for me simply due to the energy savings. It got denied. Their reasoning was we were running just fine with what we had. Until we realized how they justified projects, it was never going to get approved. The reason was the VFD costs come out of the capital budget and the wasted electricity comes out of the operational budget. The capital people didn’t want their money taken since they didn’t care about operational costs. Our mistake was trying to convince the people on the capital improvements side to do the project. Convince the people with the most to gain, and they will help push the project for you. As convoluted as that sounds, that is corporate America.

The ironic thing in my story above, we would have paid off the VFD replacement in energy savings during the period from my first proposal until it finally got approved.
 








 
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