New York Unincrsity DISCOVERING EXPERTISE The General Manager of the Garden Company (a pseudonym) invited John Dutton and me to advise him about what he called their âlot-size problem.â He was wondering, he said, whether Garden was making products in economically efficient quantities. We had no idea what a strange but memorable experience this would be! The General Manager proposed that we start with a tour of their largest plant, and assigned someone to guide us. Our guide took us first to the model shop, which produced jigs and patterns for use in the main plant. In the model shop, a skilled craftsman would start with a raw piece of metal, work on it with several different machine tools, and end with a finished component. Each successive component differed from those produced before and after, and each craftsmanâs tasks were shifting continually. Then our guide took us into the plant itself. To our amazement, we found little difference from the model shop. Many workers were using several different machine tools in succession. Since each worker had several machines, most of the machines were idle at any moment. Some workers chose to decorate castingsâ non-functional insides with patterns such
Journal of Management Studies – Wiley
Published: Nov 1, 1992
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