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Setting performance standards: the supervisor's role.

Close cooperation with the analyst and careful preliminary checks ensure fair and equitable standards.

When implementing effective performance standards in manufacturing, it is imperative that they are the result of cooperation and consultation between every level of management, as well as the employees who will be affected by them.

As management's first-line representatives in the foundry, supervisors have definite responsibilities in the establishment and maintenance of fair and equitable performance standards. While the establishment of a performance standard can be requested by many interested parties, such requests normally come from the departmental supervisor.


Before requesting a method and performance study of a manufacturing process or function, the supervisor should ascertain that the proper method of operation is being used. This includes, but is not limited to:

* Verifying that the proper workplace layout is arranged. The material flow should be positioned so that minimum physical movement is required to secure and position material. Upon completion of the operation, minimum effort should be required to remove the part from the machine and preposition it in the proper container for succeeding operations.

* Making certain that the machine is properly set up, operating within correct cycles and in good working order with all the necessary safety equipment used properly. A check should be made to assure that the correct inspection equipment is in place and the operator is familiar with its requirements.

* Advising the operator of the safest method of performing the operation, including how often nonstandard elements of the operation such as stacking, oiling and inspection cycles are to be performed.

* Once the operation commences, observing enough cycles of that operation to assure that the operator is performing the task as directed.

Once the supervisor has covered these prerequisites, a request for a study can be made. Along with the request, the supervisor should supply in detail the sequence of operation, any special instructions given to the operator and all automatic cycles the machine is set to run. The supervisor should also observe several cycles with the analyst to make certain the analyst fully understands the operation and that the operator is correctly performing the task to be studied.

If the analyst feels that alternative methods need to be used, or that a different layout would assure better material flow, the suggestions should be discussed with the supervisor and any changes made prior to commencing the study.

Once a standard of performance has been set, supervision must maintain that method of operation. When changes are made to alter workplace layout, material or process, a new study needs to be conducted and a new standard issued reflecting the necessary changes.

If a supervisor knows of any change, or if questions about the original standard arise, a simple phone call to the analyst should bring sufficient information to quickly resolve the issue and/or get a current analysis started.


Many of the problems that arise in the use of a standard stem from poor communications between the analyst, supervisor and employee.

Shop supervision should fully understand how performance standards are established and be capable of communicating this information to the employee. It is important that any question about a particular standard or even about the entire procedure of establishment be quickly and easily answered. If a question of a technical nature cannot be answered by the supervisor, he should seek assistance from the analyst. Supervisors who respond quickly and accurately to questions eliminate problems before they arise and earn the respect and confidence of the employee.

Performance standards are designed to be fair--fair to the employees and to the customer who ultimately pays the employee for the production. If a supervisor feels that a standard is unfair or does not accurately reflect all the operational requirements, he or she should discuss it with the analyst, not the affected employees.

Trust and respect play a key role in the successful implementation of performance standards. It is important for the analyst to respect the supervisor's proficiency in the direction of the workforce, departmental operations and technical matters. It is equally important for the supervisor to respect the analyst's ability to impartially observe the operation, make constructive suggestions for improvements and to fairly and accurately establish a performance standard.

By working together, the supervisor and analyst can assure that a fair and equitable standard is set. The result is better productivity, a happier workforce, and of course, less problems for the supervisor.
COPYRIGHT 1994 American Foundry Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1994, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Barker, Paul L., Jr.
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Apr 1, 1994
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