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Told we didn't make any money.

Higgins909

Aluminum
Joined
Nov 19, 2018
So, to try and preface this, I've been at this company over 5 years, started from nothing, kinda worked my way up. Honestly not paid that much. I'm at the bottom of the totem pole. Poorly trained, scraping by. I'm more of the MISC guy. These last 2 years or so I've basically been on debur duty, of specific parts. It's around 10 employees. About 3/4 are shop, 1/4 office.

I feel like there is this huge disconnect between office and shop floor. This year has been pretty slow at the shop and people are milking their parts. Parts that I normally run. I would do say 100 in 1 day and they end up taking 4 days and that's just the mill. There's the saw, some hand machining, that are both also being milked. However, I'm still running 100%.

Maybe a month ago, I had to dust off the machine programming skills, for a new part. (most parts are reruns, program already made) I know I did bad. I had to go get the manual to help me, which did not end up helping me at all. So I ended up slot machining like we normally do. (Most of our machining is hand program, some are G code and others are Conversational, so with endmills, we just go point to point pretty much, slotting) I think I took about 4 days, on what was quoted 7hrs for everything. I did everything. At one point, one of the bossmans was watching me. They never say anything, just watch.

Later on, when we get a slightly different version of that part, I'm told that, that bossman wanted to fire me over that. (Not the actual part that I was told we made no money on) The job was still quoted about 7hrs. I still spent about 2.5 days on it. Another employee ended up helping me a little bit, but probably didn't help much. On the struggle ops, it still was about the same time, after changing stuff.

We usually get hour long setups, but for whatever reason, these were only 30 minutes. Generally it takes me a whole hour if not more, to set something up, even if we have a program. I can never find anything. When I do, It's rusty and covered in slurry, so I clean it up. Then I find out it's somehow too screwed up to use and I repeat this until I get a good tool setup. Back to those parts, mentioned above. So, I sawed, setup mill, milled, setup op2, milled, setup op3 which is very similar, but there is no op3 on the time card, milled. Did both op3 setup and mill on op2 production. Then there is op4, setup and mill on a manual machine, also not on the time card, then I have to debur that one and it takes almost as long (only about a minute), then I'm also cleaning the parts on op2. Our time cards are not remotely realistic.

I'm told to make tooling last, because it's expensive. That takes more time. Then I'm slower than I already was. I'm so worried about wrecking a tool or the inserts. It feels like I'm hauling ass with the tool, pushing it to it's limits, either about the destroy the tool or rip the part out of the vise. The inserted cutter is worn at the tips and are also tapered about .002". (If it's a indexable cutter, it's messed up) I say that's messing with the finish of the part, particularly the more worn corner leaving a .007" step at the bottom of the cut. But apparently I was worrying about it too much.

Basically any part I get, the machine is barely making time. Then I've got to debur it and it's a debur intense part. It's a race to beat the machine. Wanna check the part to make sure it's still good? Machine is stalled. Take a minute to unload and load a new part? Not making time.

It seems like every single job I get, is a balls to the walls type of job. It's barely scraping by on machine time alone, difficult to debur, while about half of shop floor has these 30 minute run times and are literally kicked back on their phones all day long. I feel like we have a really uneven workload and do not feel valued because of this.

I've heard bossman(s) call everyone slow. Over the years. Particularly the mills that I've been running. I'm the last guy standing, I guess you could say. I've seen a handful of people come and go. I assume it's because they don't pay me much, that I havent been fired.


I think this is the majority of it. I'm not really sure where I was trying to go with this. After typing it all out, it seems like it's a lost cause. Does it seem like that to you as well? Does anyone have any words of advice on my situation? Has anyone else been in a similar situation?
 
Just find a new job. The fact you wrote out this whole post shows you care. And after I read the post it shows that who you work for doesn't care.

Anytime an employee "fails" it is managements fault for not providing them with the proper tools and training to get the job done. If this task is over the head of the employee it is the managements fault for directing the employee to do a job that they are not qualified for. However managers are human too and make mistakes. They aren't prefect but...

Everything is managements fault. Everything. If your boss or manager doesn't understand this then they have doomed the organization to failure. Managements most important task is to support employees so they can get their job done efficiently and effectively.

FIND A NEW JOB.
 
Sounds like you need to vent and the shop has some issues. I agree with Whammer… might be time to find a new job or at least keep your eyes open for one.

Also you shouldn’t be deburring production parts. It’s not that hard to program chamfers and they machine really fast. I would ask the boss why this isn’t being done? Seems if the operator is overworked the machine should be doing this.
 
Just switch companies.

Everything starts from the top. If the management is pointing fingers and blaming the guys at the bottom, then you know it's a horrible place to work and that the company doesn't have much of a future. The whole purpose of management is to steer the ship.

Basically I saw like 10 different red flags from your post.

- disorganization: wasting lots of time searching for tools
- deburring by hand
- not having a stock of good quality tooling
- management calling people slow
- programming by hand instead of CAM
- adversarial relationship between shop and office employees
- high turnover
- people getting fired
- low paid employees
Etc etc.

All of that tells me that this is a shit company.
 
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Maybe a month ago, I had to dust off the machine programming skills, for a new part. (most parts are reruns, program already made) I know I did bad. I had to go get the manual to help me, which did not end up helping me at all. So I ended up slot machining like we normally do. (Most of our machining is hand program, some are G code and others are Conversational, so with endmills, we just go point to point pretty much, slotting) I think I took about 4 days, on what was quoted 7hrs for everything

That is a tough one to swallow. If I quoted a job at 7 hrs and it took 4 days, I too would be very concerned. It is respectable that you're assessing the situation in an honest way and you are willing to point out your own faults.

I am going to take the unpopular opinion here and suggest that you get aggressive about improving your skills. If you can do well in an oppressive shop with a penny pinching owner, you can later thrive in a good shop with proper management.

Take the manuals home with you and study them; you need to know that machine control like a teen knows a smartphone. Keep well documented job notes for every job you run; saw, mill, deburr, whatever. Everytime you do a specific operation, you have an opportunity to learn something new and build upon your notes. Seek continous improvement.

Management people are data driven. If they trust that you know your stuff, you can show them - based on the data from your job notebook - exactly how long a job takes to run, how many of each tool is required per run, and exactly how long it takes to go from raw stock to finished part in each step.

Push hard to learn, not for them but to improve your own skills. Being in the hot seat with all eyes on us isn't a bad thing, it provides motivation.
 
That is a tough one to swallow. If I quoted a job at 7 hrs and it took 4 days, I too would be very concerned.
The management team should look inward.

A responsible management team would try to gather insight on the issues that the company is facing, so that they can address the problems.

Shifting blame onto the workers is amateur behavior. If the workers are incompetent, then it's still the management's fault because who hired the workers?

Getting aggressive with improving skills is good advice. OP should focus on getting out of that dumpster fire.
 
At the sandblasters a contract for blast and paint went completely awry ,and losses in excess of $1 million were booked.............the quote and contract was based on a small sample ,and the job quickly required another factory space and yard and a lot more people..............so shit happens ,and you need to pad out every quote to allow for the bad ones.
 
When I worked in the Toyota toolroom they were always getting estimates wrong. Standard practice for the planning and estimation guys was to book the time against another job or use apprentices/slaves where time was booked to training. Eventually a die landed on the floor and there was no time left on the job. Everyone got called into a meeting and got told they would need to work weekends for free. Read my lips "Fuck off".
 
The management team should look inward.

A responsible management team would try to gather insight on the issues that the company is facing, so that they can address the problems.

Shifting blame onto the workers is amateur behavior. If the workers are incompetent, then it's still the management's fault because who hired the workers?

Getting aggressive with improving skills is good advice. OP should focus on getting out of that dumpster fire.

Sure, the management team could be doing something different but to be fair, we don't have the full context. Complaining about management doesn't help the OP. 4 days to run a 7 hour job tells me that he really needs more practice all around. It is better to focus on that before going somewhere else. A little trial by fire is good for us now and then.
 
Lucky ..back in the 60s,if you worked for Toyota and fucked up,you would have to stand on a street corner semi naked and shout out all your faults to passers by.
Back in the early 60s I used to run around stark, bollock naked on the farm :D
 
Seriously, Just find a new job! It's not worth it, 100%
A major thing that would cut your time is probably get a copy of Fusion360, get a laptop, and learn to program with CAD/CAM software.
depending on the parts, this in time will cut time, even at your new job.
I don't see any variable that would make me say stay there other than your in a small area and there are no other machine shops.

edit: but 4 days on 7 hrs? Somethings a miss. If you really took 4 days on something that was even 2 days then you need more training under your belt. Needing to grab the manual kinda shows it also.

I tell myself and my son how many days/hours a job must be done in to make full money, after that we are slowly making less, if he takes longer then I tell him how much we lost so he understands.
then we analyze what made it take so long, and start figuring out what to do to remedy that issue.

truth is, because I quote things and I dont fully have my head all the way up in there, we almost never hit our time, and are always under.
"If its done early, it's on time. If it's done on time, it's late" is my motto.

You said parts that usually take 1 day your milking to 4 days?
We have had to do that when times were slow, gotta ask management if its ok though, some places want people to keep up the standard pace as usual and they get rid of the unneeded guy/s.
 
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A responsible management team would try to gather insight on the issues that the company is facing, so that they can address the problems.
This shop is probably cooked. No money for tools, running on old repeat jobs, work slowing down, too many employees, office staff heavy, skill gap, leaving the deburr guy to program new work... that's game over. Where is the owner in all of this?

My advice to the OP is to find a new job, preferably in a different industry. Want to make double what you're making now? Have you ever operated a backhoe?
 
Just find a new job. The fact you wrote out this whole post shows you care. And after I read the post it shows that who you work for doesn't care.

Anytime an employee "fails" it is managements fault for not providing them with the proper tools and training to get the job done. If this task is over the head of the employee it is the managements fault for directing the employee to do a job that they are not qualified for. However managers are human too and make mistakes. They aren't prefect but...

Everything is managements fault. Everything. If your boss or manager doesn't understand this then they have doomed the organization to failure. Managements most important task is to support employees so they can get their job done efficiently and effectively.

FIND A NEW JOB.
Had to quote this because I could not have said it better
I am the boss and everything is my fault
If I have a job that is supposed to be done today and come noontime it isn't running, I am out to find out what is going on, not to yell or complain, but offer to help. Sure I can be a grumpy prick and I might push you out of the way to program it for you, but you will get over it
I can listen and tell if you are running it too fast or too slow, from my office.
The problem with getting slow and 'milking' is it creates bad habits.
I would rather get the work done and clean, or other crap.
Or nothing, sit around and talk about baseball.

First time through for a new part is rarely a moneymaker, at least for me.
 
How large is this company? I would put my effort into writing a compelling resume, summarizing the entire gamut of duties you’ve been responsible for over the years and getting this information to any and all other manufacturing businesses in your area.

The place you’re employed at does not deserve you, nor deserve to be in business by the sound of it. They’ll slowly die and management will blame the demise of the business on everyone and everything else. You don’t need to be around for that.
 
How large is this company? I would put my effort into writing a compelling resume, summarizing the entire gamut of duties you’ve been responsible for over the years and getting this information to any and all other manufacturing businesses in your area.

The place you’re employed at does not deserve you, nor deserve to be in business by the sound of it. They’ll slowly die and management will blame the demise of the business on everyone and everything else. You don’t need to be around for that.
Slow death, immense decay...showers that cleanse you of your life -slayer, angel of death- 😀
 








 
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