The Blacksmith’s Anvil

Barringer & Associates, Inc.,   P. O. Box 3985,   Humble, TX 77347,   Phone: (281)-852-6810,   FAX: (281)-852-3749





There's trouble in paradise because of hidden factories in stealth model.  Hidden factories waste our productive efforts.  Hidden factories exist for correcting: errors, product rework, revising existing products, repairing omissions and errors, and form a gap between demonstrated output and theoretical productive output plus a gap for reliability losses.  Hidden factories exist within each department in our operations.  Hidden factories live in Accounting, Engineering, Marketing, Sales, and Manufacturing.  Want to find your hidden factories?  First you've got to admit they exist to find them.  Admitting we own hidden factories are difficult because we must admit that we are less than perfect as management has condoned existence of the hidden factories! 


Each of us sees waste in other department’s hidden factories (but not our own).  We must identify our own hidden factories and put them out of business to increase our profits, become more productive, and avoid additional capital expenditures for capacity.  Most companies, around the world, use ≈25+% of all their employees for waste--either making it or correcting it.


Identify Hidden Factories


We have hidden factories in our areas of responsibility.  These hidden factories consume our time, effort, and finances.  They rob the company and us because we let them exist in comfortable environments.  We'll never get rid of all hidden factories but we can lessen their damage.


First, identify our hidden factories.  Then destroy them.  We have carefully camouflaged them.  Worse yet, we've been protecting our hidden factories for years by our dynamic management inaction.


Hidden factories have common characteristics whether in Sales or Manufacturing.  Jobs not done right the first time build hidden factories.  We usually justify them with yes-but words.  "…Yes, we've done a good job but now we need just a little rework or revision…"  It's simple.  Our error correction work feeds our hidden factories.  World-class factories do the job right the first time and use all the theoretical capacity for making prime product without costly delays.

Hidden factories exist because of wasted efforts.  Would you finance expensive hidden factories?


Gore Your Own Sacred Ox


It's easy to see hidden factories built by others.  However, we don't admit we build them in our areas of responsibility.


We're usually busy complaining about problems in other departments.  We're so busy we can't see our own hidden factories.


Destroying our pockets of hidden factories is something we must accomplish.  We have difficulty finding hidden factories because we've got them well justified (excused)!  Look at all the years and effort we've put into manning and supplying hidden factories.  Destroying our own hidden factories is embarrassing!


Today's competitive environment is clear.  It fits a paraphrase of the frontier adage about bears:  "Eat the competition or they'll eat you."  Dying inside of hidden factories isn't an honorable path for R.I.P!


Take the offense.  Reduce waste.  Gore your own sacred ox living in your hidden factories by tearing down the wasted or ignored effort.  Build a continuous bias toward waste reductions. Gain back your capacity losses built into your process by creative destruction of hidden factories.


What Other Are Doing


Hewlett Packard, a major world class manufacturing firm with a global organization, attacked their hidden factories.  HP’s President set a '80's goal requiring lower cost of quality by 1990.  He wanted 1990 results at 1/10 of the 1980 value.  He set a tough goal, which they met in one decade.


For three years they tried justifying the old status quo conditions.  Then pressure from the top for progress became unbearable.  Slowly, HP mobilized for corrective action.  Departments faced errors and waste as challenges.  They barely achieved the cost of quality goal.


Each step in HP's continuous improvement process found hidden factories not previously recognized.  They identified and wiped them out.  Costs dropped.  Productivity increased.  Even non-factory departments discovered they had hidden factories!  Extra capacity was discovered.


Departments from top to bottom in the organization found their hidden factories.  They made changes and got changes.  They found, named, and destroyed their hidden factories

Hidden factories exist in all departments--not just in the manufacturing areas.  Measure errors and find extra capacity, which exists in the hidden factories.  Find assignable causes for problems.  Fix problems.  Erase hidden factories and prevent them from recurring.  World-class manufacturers don't tolerate waste and errors from hidden factories.  How long will our competitors let us finance our hidden factories? How much extra capacity exists within your hidden factory and how much do you personally contribute to the hidden factory?  Destroying hidden factories is a management responsibility.


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Barringer & Associates, Inc. 1995