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My employee is too slow.

:nutter:

Prototype work and 3-5 part runs, have to be the hardest way to earn living unless you have the right niche.
That type work is also what attracts highly skilled *craftsmen*, they're in short supply, and an endangered species. A machinist who owns and operates a shop will want to make space for one or two like this just for the capabilities they bring, while the businessman who runs a shop won't give them the time of day- it doesn't fit in with what's taught at Harvard MBA School of Management.
 
Just a little perspective on this. I just crunched the numbers for Feb production and efficiency percentage for my department. My 2nd shift guy that everyone thinks is slow and does not get anything done, ran more parts than any one, had less downtime than anyone, and had a better average set-up time that anyone by nearly an hour per set-up.
 
i would sit down with him and go over that program that he did, and compare it to the one you did. explain to him how and why you're able to bring the cycle down to that point. tell him what you told us, you like and value him a lot and want him to continue working with you, but also tell him that if he isnt able to adapt and pick up the pace, that it makes no sense for you to employ him anymore. be respectful and honest. if he isnt able to grasp that, then you gotta start looking for someone else.
 
Oh hell. Take the programming away from him, just keep those three mills running and if you aren't bringing in $120 an hour, hire a smarter boss !
Yes, I will probably do that with most of the programming. I will use him as an operator and have him do programming on low volume work if there isn't enough operator type work to keep him busy.

I do bring in more than that myself, but I need HIM to bring in 120/hr that HE works or else I should go back do being solo and just turn down any additional work.
 
How sure are you that he isn't wasting time?

Spot checks throughout the day are insufficient. You may have to drop everything you're doing and shadow him for an entire day or two to figure out how exactly he's managing his time. The results may be eye opening.
No doubt he looks at his phone sometimes or mentally takes breaks. I don't think it's reasonable to expect 100% effort from an employee and shadowing them all day is probably going to piss them off. I would probably do that to someone I wanted to quit.
 
1) Let the guy go. And then try and find a replacement when the pool of competant employees is very small.
or
2) give him a list of speeds/feeds/stepovers you want him to program with.
or
3) program everything yourself, and let him run the parts. Then he becomes a $40/hr operator
and
4) accept being a business owner is an entirely thankless task.
I will go with the 40$/hr operator route. Operators cost at least 25$ an hour anyway so I'm basically paying an extra 15$/hr for someone who can occasionally program 1-10qty prototypes and also set up jobs I've programmed and proved out in the past. Not a bad outcome IMO. I think I can make it work.

It still doesn't solve the issue of me being the indispensable employee and being overloaded with programming work, but maybe I should just give up on solving that.
 
My business is mostly low volume production and prototyping for aerospace and medical device. A while back I hired a machinist to help me at my shop. I pay him 40/hr which comes out to about $45/hr in cost to me. The job is to program, set up, and run the parts. I need him to average $120/hr in revenue in order for me to make any profit at all from his being here. My problem is that he is a little slow with programming and also programs the parts to run slow on the machines. By my calculation, he averages around $80/hr work output.

I like the guy overall. He is a good worker and we get along. He doesn't waste time and works pretty diligently, but not fast enough. For example, the other day he programed a job to run at 30 min/part and I had to go in and reprogram to run at 7 min/part to make the delivery date. At 50-100pc quantities that is a lot of time. I already have a standard library of tools with feeds and speeds already set, but even so he manages to make the program take long. He says that in his last job they didn't care too much about the run time and just wanted to make a good part. I told him I need to make a good part with a short run time or else we won't make any money.

I am starting the think that contract manufacturing isn't a viable business with employees. There is no room to move on prices and my pricing is already higher than others. What is discouraging me is that I think this employee is actually pretty good and definitely the best out of all the ones I interviewed, but I can't make the numbers pencil out. I plan on trying to coach the guy to be faster and also make improvements around the shop to make his job easier. I am wondering what other people's thoughts are on this subject? How much can your machinists make on low volume work?
If the guy is being paid $40 per hour, you are paying $60. Or thereabouts.
You want to think you'd hire a guy for $40.00 to take up the stuff you have been doing and expect him to do as fast as yourself and as good.
Yeah, I went through that. It's a fairy tale, a pipe dream...
Or maybe you are just hallucinating again.
Face it dude, they punch in, get through their 8 hours and are never sick on payday.
I got a pile of 'em.
I can out-work any three.
You have to be very careful in estimating your jobs and costs'.
Never expect anything of an employee that you would of yourself.
I say that as a Brother.
Count them as 1/2 of yourself if they are good.
 
It still doesn't solve the issue of me being the indispensable employee and being overloaded with programming work, but maybe I should just give up on solving that.
It's not the worst thing in the world.

A number of folks I know were owner-operators for their entire careers, heavily involved in the day to day. Their businesses ebbed and flowed, but they had a few good years and sunk the free cash into rental properties. Ended up making it out big even though their businesses were just average.
 
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I has a boss come talk to me when running a fussy grinding job.
Finnaly He ashed why i wasn't woking
I told him that I was too busy to grind this job.
Busy dong what?..
talking to you..
Some just do not understand what concentrating on the job at hand means. Like ganging around to watch threads being cut. If they want to learn, fine, I'll help them on their part. But don't bother me on mine.
 
I will go with the 40$/hr operator route. Operators cost at least 25$ an hour anyway so I'm basically paying an extra 15$/hr for someone who can occasionally program 1-10qty prototypes and also set up jobs I've programmed and proved out in the past. Not a bad outcome IMO. I think I can make it work.

It still doesn't solve the issue of me being the indispensable employee and being overloaded with programming work, but maybe I should just give up on solving that.

My very wealthy, old last boss of when I was an employee as an electrician, made it very clear to me that there is a magic number when it comes to employees.

I am sure it differs for various industries but he was very serious, when he told me 5 or more employees was the magic number for him owning/running his electrical company. you and one employee will get the work of 1.5 guys done, as you will spend now half your time just looking for work and getting the jobs to keep your employee working, while doing some work yourself...2 guys plus yourself you get only 2.5 times the work done... and so forth. Once you get 5 employees, you no longer get on the tools, and your soul job is finding work and doing paperwork... you can adjust how the work is divided up having sales guys or whatever... but moral of story is you and an employee will not ever get 2 peoples worth of work done.
 








 
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