An employee suggested five improvements to processes, as described below:
On air operated grease machine for XXX (Bay B73). One each right and left for injecting required amount of grease to front hubs. Sketches are attached showing detailed method of shortening the unnecessarily long stroke of the ram for grease seal pressing. For some unknown reason the present stroke is 18 inches when half of that would suffice as in the case of the Plymouth and Dodge front hub operations. To retain the long cylinders and precise cycling and metering (automatic by pressures) the ram must operate at the top and the table should be raised accordingly.
Solve present excessive wear on cup-leathers due to inside to outside bearing action and more accurately position ram over hub.
Remove present safety hazard (some operators actually placing bearing in hubs after sending ram on non-stoppable down stroke.)
Offer a stand-up schedule operation at 49 inch height instead of 19 inch sitting down. Make operation cycle mechanically four times as fast. Save approximately 1,000 cu. Inches of 105 PSI compressed air per operation.
Require only two additional cup leathers (1 each machine), 2 pcs 8 in dia CRs; 1 pc 4 in OD tubing 7 ¾ inches long; 1 ½ x 10 pipe nipple; a weldment platform 9 inches high. The removal of the top and bottom heads of the cylinder; drilling in the bottom one 7/8 dia hole and the shifting of only one hose connection.
The following is the reply:
XXXX CORPORATION - Suggestion System
L O S A N G E L E S P L A N T
Suggestion No, LA-XXXX
Mr. John R. McWhorter
6526 E. Olympic
Los Angeles 33, California
We are happy to report that your suggestion has been received by our Suggestion Committee. Thank you very much for submitting it. Ideas are so essential if we ar to continue to make progress and improve our American Way of Life. It is impossible as yet to determine whether your proposal will prove successful, however, be assured that you r idea will be thoroughly investigated by representatives of each of the several departments capable of passing sound judgment as to the merits of your idea. As soon as possible you will be advised of the results of our investigation.
Should your idea be usable, it must then be approved by the Suggestion Committee. Following this, our Accounting Department will study the results of its usage to determine the amount of a fair and equitable award as provided for by the rules of the Chrysler Corporation Employee Suggestion Plan.
In the event that your idea must be declined, you will be notified by letter at to the reasons for it being declined.
You will readily recognize that this process will take some time, however, please feel free to write or ‘phone us concerning your Suggestion and in such event, kindly refer to the Suggestion Number shown on your suggestion stub.
Best wishes for many award-winning ideas!
Your Plant Suggestion Committee
[Sig.] by H. H. Brown
If you’ve read or heard Norman Bodek, Chuck Yorke, Alan Robinson or many others describe successful idea programs, you cringed at reading the response. I’d hardly feel it was worth the effort to save the company a few bucks after reading that. The “suggester” apparently hasn’t yet received a reply. He’s a notorious pack rat, so I’d expect to find it in his file, but it’s not there.
This exchange of letters took place at a Chrysler assembly plant in 1961. (Jeez- I hope those operators were stopped before they lost their hands.) They were submitted by my granddad, a toolmaker, and proud member of ASTE, the original name of SME. But he was no more clever than toolmakers, line operators and other plant-floor employees now. Today someone is thinking of improvements exactly like my grandfather’s. Companies like Chrysler – let’s hope they’ve changed since then – are either profiting by that kind of creativity, or throwing it away.
Q. for Larry Christiansen: What was your idea-program experience on the line at Chrysler? (and when?)