|Killing the Goose...|
Chapter 30: Added Value
Jack LaBlanc and I respected each others ability and resented the way it was being used. Our job was to run clay extrusions from a cross section drawing that Bob Scott or Ed Jaquet gave us, chop them into small rectangular buttons and arrange them inside the radio frames. We called the frames radio bodies. We modeled the other parts of the radio faces by hand and changed them as we were directed to do by the designers.
Bob Scott didnt say anything to us. Soo Kang did. She was a rookie designer and every time she approached us Jack tensed up. It took about a day and a half to learn why she made him so uncomfortable. I thought at first that it was because she was so stunningly beautiful. Jack was a strong family man and very religious. He was still a man. But Soos looks had nothing to do with his discomfort.
Soo was extremely critical of everything we did and when we backed her into a position where she couldnt give a reasonable explanation for her dissatisfaction her command of English took a sudden nosedive. It got under Jacks skin because he knew she was faking those little episodes of incomprehension and inability to express herself clearly. We knew what she was talking about. She knew what we were talking about and she knew she was wrong.
Jack complained to me that Soo, under Ed Jaquets guidance, of course, was making apples to oranges comparisons between the clay and the dozens of competitor models Velcroed to a portable display board. Manufactured plastic parts always looked better than clay because plastic had a glossier finish than clay. It was the same deal as with the body side spear on the fiberglass Hudding Probe vs. the spear on the clay model.
Jack said, The only reason she thinks those other buttons look better is because theyre shinier.
No sooner had he said that, than Soo Kang approached us with a shinny black button in her hand. Her timing couldnt have been better. Jack gave me the same look that Calvin had given me with his Dick Petit center stack demonstration.
Look, she said as she handed me the button. See how much nicer this one is. Try to make that one more like this one.
This time I gave Jack the Cal Morrison look. As Soo walked away Jack gave me the slow Cal Morison headshake. He held up the button that she gave us and read in my face what I saw. It was awful.
I went to Ed Jaquet and explained the problem and the solution. I told him that our modeling approach was wrong for what we were trying to accomplish. He reddened, taking personal offense at what I said. I wasnt criticizing our modeling approach. I was criticizing his.
I recognized my diplomatic blunder too late to get around it. Our discussion rapidly escalated to an argument over who was in charge. He thought that he should be in charge of everything Jack and I did. I argued that he was in charge of designing the models and Greg Arceri was in charge of the modeling. I argued that as Gregs representative, the decisions about how to make the models he wanted to see were mine.
This wasnt merely a turf battle. It was a pivotal issue, which affected all of us. Ed Jaquet began his program with a lead-time of one year. Half of that time was shot with nothing to show for it but a hole in the budget. He was designing radio faces and climate control faces for the entire Ford line of cars. The old ones we had looked old. If we didnt have the new models ready to manufacture in time, we would have to fall back on the old ones. Whenever I pictured one of those old things in the instrument panels of the Probe, Mustang, Taurus or Lincoln Continental I shuddered. It would have been like using a Civil War era necktie to complement a modern business suit.
The entire automotive industry would have laughed at us and style-conscious car buyers would have felt insulted and cheated. The other automakers were going to be offering CD players as well as tape players in their cars. We would not be able to offer a CD player. Can you imagine a T-bird, a Sable, a Continental or a Town Car without a CD player in the 1990s?
I went to my Supervisor. Arceri and Jaquet were both pay grade 10s. They were like Army second lieutenants. I was like an acting first sergeant. Jaquet could pull rank on me. He couldnt pull rank on Arceri. If the lieutenants couldnt work out their differences they would go to the captain, Al Ornes. Neither of them wanted to do that because neither of them could be sure of the repercussions if they did.
The three of us sat at a small, round conference table in front of Ed Jaquets workstation. I know it bothered Jaquet that Arceri had an office. I thought it was a wise move for Arceri to go to Jaquets table.
The meeting went much the way I expected it to. Jaquet told Arceri what he told me. Arceri told Jaquet what I told him. Coming from Arceri it packed a greater punch. Jaquet wasnt arguing with a subordinate he had just met. He was discussing the situation with an equal he knew. Greg asked me what I thought was wrong with the way Jack and I were doing things and what I thought we should be doing. Greg went along with me and Jaquet eventually went along with most of it.
The sticking point was my proposal to build an ace model of each component out of the plastic material the Plastic Shop used to cast small parts and cast the assembled units when Jaquet approved them. Jaquet insisted that we make each knob, button and switch individually to give them the close-up appearance of being functional. That was a tall order but unquestionably within his purview to make. And deep down, Greg and I knew that he was right.
We had three components to make, a radio, a climate control unit and a tape player. They had to go to five different places for five different reasons and we needed to keep one of each for ourselves. Doing it all my way, I estimated that Jack and I could model the master unites in three weeks barring last minute design changes and have all 18 cast models ready within the next three days at the outside. Making every individual part for every unit was going to require more modelers and more time unless I found a way to do everything faster and better than anyone had ever done anything like this before. The challenge appealed to me.
The work I had done at home between layoffs and the work I was doing now in my spare time over the past seventeen years was a perfect match for what I had to do now. Apart from what I knew about clay modeling, I had a formidable array of secret weapons I could use in this campaign
Meanwhile, my letter-writing campaign to keep my EP from dropping to an E was working better than I thought it would. I happened to see Fritz Mayhew in the hallway. We exchanged greeting and he told me how happy he was with my work on the Probe. I didnt intend to give him the what-kind-of-stupid-remark-is-that look, but I cant swear that I didnt. I asked him if he would say that in writing.
Fritz threw up his hands as though he was afraid he would burn them if he didnt and said, Im neutral.
Bingo! Some high-level maneuvering was going on and Fritz wanted no part of it
I said, Now you know why I wrote those letters. I had to do something to shake things up.
Fritz looked a tad ruffled. As he pushed the door to make his exit to the basement he said, You certainly did that!
He said it as though it was a gross understatement.
I knew then and there that I wouldnt drop down to an E. Id probably get a higher EP and a 7 or 8% raise to go with it instead of the 5% Jerry Folgmann told me to expect. I would probably get it much sooner. For the time being I could forget the politics and concentrate on the job that Ford supposedly hired me and promoted me to do, to use my hands and my mind.
Neither Jack nor I liked to work overtime. So the first order of business was to figure out a way to justify not working it. I wasnt concerned with the number of man-hours we would loose because I knew that an eight-hour workday was already stretching the limit of productive work we could accomplish each day. With the procedural architecture I had in mind we could get more done faster without overtime. What concerned me was how I was going to sell that idea to Greg Arceri and Ed Jaquet.
After turning the problem over a few times I decided to let the products of our labor speak for Jack and me. We had a whopping head start in terms of what our bosses could reasonably expect us to accomplish in a few weeks even with more people working overtime to help us. A shorter workday meant that we didnt have to pace ourselves to avoid the mental fatigue that comes with a steady diet of crafting small, detailed parts and the costly errors that come with mental fatigue. By eliminating the unproductive hours and the most counterproductive phase of hard model development we were months ahead of the game before we started.
The sooner we produced hard models the sooner the designers and everyone else who needed to know the dimensions and configuration of what we produced, the sooner Ford could manufacture them. Instead of repeating hundreds of operations dozens of times in the clay modeling stage of development, we were skipping that stage altogether by going straight to the hard models. The designers could get a better idea of what their manufactured designs were going to look like. If we didnt cheat on feasibility wed know that they would work because the technology had already been proven.
Sure, the designers were going to fiddle with everything they saw until their fiddling time ran out. But now they could play a sweeter tune each time because they could see what they were really dealing with ten times sooner than they could before.
Ten times sooner is not an exaggeration. Its an understatement.
Any way of arriving at a model that was comparable in appearance to the real thing began with Product Plannings assessment of the desired design direction and a list of particular features. Package engineers worked out the necessary dimensions for fitting the part in place. Other engineers determined what the mechanical and electrical elements had to be, how they had to be configured, what materials were available and what facilities could manufacture them to specifications. Costs analysts determined how much everything would cost and somebody else set the limit for what the company was going to spend. Thats why so many models had to be made.
Using these parameters, aesthetic designers did their thing.
The conventional way of getting to the hard model from there began with sketches, renderings and clay models. Sometimes the designers and modelers stayed within the boundaries set for them and sometimes they didnt. Sometimes those boundaries were bogus. Periodically a draftsman or engineer would request information from the modelers to see if what we had matched what they had. Frequently it didnt. We went back and fourth to resolve the differences. Meanwhile, the clay models were changing, sometime a little and sometimes a lot.
The good thing about a clay model is that it can be changed rapidly. The bad thing about a clay model is that it can change so rapidly that nobody can keep track of the changes. All of the entities that needed to be on the same page were rarely on the same page. Some engineers were working with the first iteration of a design. Some were working with the second, the third or the fourth while the studio designers and modelers were working on the eighth or ninth. Sometimes these differences were unimportant. Sometimes they were critical.
Nobody would run a company like this if he or she knew what was going on. The suits in the Glass House didnt have a clue.
For the first time, somebody who wasnt a suit and knew what was going on could use what he knew to the companys advantage on an important program. I understood the power and the implications of how I intended to do in less than one month what usually took a full year.
I spotted the key that would make everything work during that first meeting with Ed Jaquet when he showed me the mechanical drawings Bob Scott made for the $100,000 paperweights. They looked like good drawings and they were. I didnt have to do anything to make all three views line up. All of his dimensions were correct. They were correctly labeled and we could model all of the parts from the drawings. That meant everyone involved in the program would be on the same page from start to finish as long as Jack and I didnt cheat. We didnt.
Jack did some things better than I did. I did some things better than he did. We learned from each other and quickly became adept at doing everything the best way our combined talents could teach us. If Jack had a better idea than I had about how to improve the process, I incorporated it into the process. When neither of us could solve a problem we went to someone who could. Somebody in the Design Center could solve any technical problem that was humanly possible to solve and some problems that nobody thought were possible to solve. It was crazy not to use their special talents when required and to incorporate them into our process.
We made a radio and a hard plastic tape player in two weeks that looked so realistic when Bob Scott and Ed Jaquet added the graphic elements that you had to look hard to see that they were not real. It took less than a week for us to make the climate control unit and the CD player.
The only reason it took that long was because Jack wasnt goofing off enough. He stayed on the job too long at a stretch and made mistakes that took longer to correct than it would have taken to do the job right the first time. As soon as I got him to take more breaks and longer ones, his mental fatigue errors went away. I wasnt making as many of those mistakes but any hour or so after lunch I could see that both of us were making them more frequently than we did after a long coffee break.
Between us we figured out that we couldnt work more than six hours a day without going backward unless the task at hand was particularly challenging or exciting. When we let the nature of the work in front of us guide us in how long we stayed with it rather than letting the clock on the wall do it, our productivity increased dramatically.
You cant measure productivity in this type of work by strokes per hour. You have to measure it by efficiency per stroke. Your start time, your end time and the quality of your product tell you how productive you are.
By the end of the third week we were so far ahead in the program that Ed Jaquet added two more models with five replicas of each going out to various places. No problem. The system was doing most of the work for us and doing it better each time because each time Jack or I found a better way to do something it went into the system.
The system was flexible enough to accommodate individual modeling styles that got the same things done in the same amount of time and it encouraged experimentation. Experimentation was built into the system. We didnt try to fix what wasnt broke. We kept everything that worked and tried everything we could imagine that might work better. The experiments usually failed in getting us what we hoped to achieve but understanding why they failed usually lead to breakthroughs in other areas. What didnt work for A because of X did work for B because X was not a factor. What worked for B could often be applied to C and D.
With the master parts for all the components out of the way and our production system improving with every run, we could crank out two duplicates a day with less effort and higher quality. On the quality side of the equation our improvements were so great that the models were visually indistinguishable from functional radios. On the production side, the Plastic Shop was a gigantic asset. Everyone there I went to did whatever they could do to help us quickly, expertly and enthusiastically. They didnt hold back anything, as many experts do, to elevate their status and give them leverage over us. They told me everything I asked them about the dimensional stability of their molds, the shrinkage of the liquid urethane plastic they poured into them and the variables that affected the hard parts that came out.
There was no telling what kind of quality control we would have gotten from an outside vendor, but I knew everyone in the shop, they knew me. Our communication lines were therefore always open, honest and clear. I didnt lie to them to get them to move faster or to push my parts to the head of the line. Giving them the big picture allowed them to plan their work so that everyone who came to them got what they needed when they needed it. They told me what they needed from me and when they needed it. They didnt lie to me. They gave me what I needed when I didnt know I needed it. If I made a mistake that cost them extra work, I admitted it and they did the extra work without complaint. If they made a mistake they didnt try to excuse it. They fixed it.
I had a similar rapport with the Metal Shop and the Paint Shop.
The urethane bodies that housed the radios, CD players, tape players and climate control unit were never identical. They warped a little and shrank a lot. The smaller parts that fit inside of them did not warp noticeably. They also shrank but not in proportion to the shrinkage of the bodies. Jack and I therefore spent a considerable amount of time modifying each of the bodies and juggling all of the parts to give them the appearance of having the correct positioning and spacing. That didnt matter so much for the first iterations but it would matter down the line.
I saw two ways of getting ahead of the problems I knew were coming. Both ways meant re-mastering the bodies and some of the buttons. Bob Scott, a draftsman, Jack LaBlanc or I could redo the mechanical drawing to compensate for the body shrinkage and build a cast model for the Plastic Shop. It would be a one or two shot deal, depending on how much the urethane shrunk with the added volume. The costs per unit would not change but we would have had the same warping problem that added to the time it took to compensate for it. The other solution was to give Bob Scotts original drawing to the Metal Shop and have them mill the bodies in a dense plastic that did not shrink or warp. The per-unit cost might be marginally higher but it would save far more in time than it cost.
Jack and I wanted to go with the Metal Shop option. The Metal Shop was already making the lenses for the radios and once they set up their machines to cut the bodies to specification they could mill more parts faster than the plastic shop could pour them. In other words, the per-unit cost might have been lower.
To know the cost, you had to spread it out over the cost of time, material and labor across the board. The Components studio working closely with the in-house shops had already saved Ford hundreds of thousands of dollars, perhaps millions, in productive labor labor that was used to make the company money. The Metal Shops material cost might have been fifty cents vs. a fraction of a penny but if they ran off a thousand units, the material cost would be only $500. Thats one half of one percent of what it cost Ed Jaquet to get two worthless units from an outside vendor. Moreover, we needed to produce no more than 30 unites with that level of accuracy. Thats 15 bucks.
Ed Jaquet thought it might be too expensive. Al Ornes said that it was too expensive. He shot it down. His real reason was because he was in the process of shooting Jack and me down. He did not want us working in Components but, with my work plan, the promises made to Jack about his Ford career if he performed well, and the work still ahead of us, he couldnt arbitrarily get rid of us. He had to invent reasons for getting rid of us that sounded reasonable. He did it piece by piece.
The first thing to go was our worktable. Ornes said that it was an eyesore, which had no place in a design studio. It was big and ugly but the overhead lighting that made it so ugly was ideal for our needs. We could do what we did as well as we did it because we could see what we needed to see as we were working. Its value was so obvious that even the two electricians who were called to take it away balked at doing it.
One of them said, You guys need this thing.
The other one nodded along with Jack and me and said, Maybe we can lose the move order.
The move order for the table stayed lost for as long as the electricians could swing it. Each day, Al Ornes would make it his first priority to see if the table was still there and to complain to the electricians supervisor when it was. Each day he became more agitated that his order to have it removed wasnt carried out. Finally he got so angry that he started ranting. He turned beat red and Jack and I feared that the vein in his forehead would pop. He speed-walked to his office to make another call. The electricians came up, disconnected the power line for the light canopy and reluctantly hauled the table away.
Al Ornes replaced the table with two modern desks easels, really like the designers used, with clamp-on lamps. We still had our old workbench, which was also ugly, to lay out more parts than we could fit on our easels. It, too, had clamp-on lamps, big, old ugly ones that cast shadows like the new pretty ones clamped to our new pretty easels.
Jack grumbled about our gorgeous furniture more than I did because he was more worried than I was about his performance review. We had to adjust the lights constantly to see what we were doing before we painted the models and when we pained them we invariably saw flaws that we couldnt see before.
We had more components to make because they stole the show in a showroom exhibition of our Interior properties for everyone in the Design Center to look at. Crowds gathered around our component models with their mouths open in disbelief that they were not real.
Interiors designers in other studios wanted them in their Instrument panels. They could do the graphics. They could get some of the parts from the shops but the modelers would have to make some parts that were invisible. They would have to learn why they were necessary and how we made them invisible. They would have to know how we achieved the flawless paint finish and how we did everything so quickly.
Although we were now kicking out four our five models a day, Ed Jaquet could see how much harder we had to work at our new workstations to do it. He was making changes in some of the models and sending them out to more vendors. We had to put in overtime one day to make a last minute change. The change was necessary, the overtime was necessary and all of us could see it. We could also see how demand for our components from other studios was eating into the time Jaquet wanted Jack and me to spend on doing the things he wanted us to do.
Jaquet put his foot down and declared that his people would no longer supply finished components to anyone who wanted them. He told me that he would give them the parts but they had to put them together. That was like giving somebody the recipe for a gourmet pastry without telling them how much of what to add, when and how to add it or how long to bake it at what temperature. They needed a kit with simple, step-by-step assembly and painting instructions.
Talent wasnt the problem. The problem was experience.
All experienced modelers would have made the same wrong assumptions that Jack and I made. They would have thought; this is easy. All you have to do is take the parting agent off the urethane with alcohol, paint everything black and put the buttons in the right places. If they had to make several of them, they would have assembled one good one and tried to cast it.
Even if Ed Jaquet had not insisted on casting the buttons and switches separately, I would have eventually seen the necessity of doing it. The operative word is eventually. The modelers would have eventually seen the necessity of applying the buttons with double-back tape instead of snot tape, spray adhesive or glue. They would have eventually seen the necessity of using the materials we used and applying them in the order that we applied them. Meanwhile, they would have blown several days as Jack and I did thinking that they could achieve the same result another way or they would have had to settle for an inferior result.
A case in point was the solvent we used to remove the parting agent the Plastic Shop used to separate the parts from the molds. Alcohol worked well enough with this parting agent most of the time to get a good result. On larger parts that were viewed from a distance, the blemishes were inconsequential. On small parts that were viewed close up you might see a blemish on only one part in ten. But when you are making lots of things with a lot of small parts, good enough and most of the time doesnt cut it. When our paint finishes were inconsistent I took the problem to the Paint Shop. The leader gave me the answer. Window cleaner a particular brand of window cleaner, worked perfectly every time.
You can see from this exercise with the components models how real teamwork got things done at Ford. Other modelers, designers and engineers have had similar experiences.
Look at it like a battle in a hot war. An American infantry captain leads his company in an assault on an enemy position. As the situation was presented to him before he engaged the enemy, he and his men have everything they need to emerge victorious. As the battle develops he and his lieutenants get killed. A buck sergeant takes charge. He sees that he is out-positioned, outgunned and outnumbered. Does he dig in and slug it out? Hell no! He calls in helicopter gun ships, heavy artillery and fighter-bombers. If he is an Army leader who needs more infantry and the nearest infantry outfit is a company of Marines, he calls the Marines. If you have that much power and flexibility at your disposal its crazy not to use it.
Can you imagine the pilots of the gun-ships or the fighter-bombers not responding because they are officers and the man in charge on the ground isnt? Can you imagine the Marines refusing to move because they want the Army guys to fail or because the radio operator thought the soldier calling for help sounded like a black guy? Would you label the acting company commander of the unit under fire a coward or a traitor to the Army for calling the Marines and try to boot him out of the Army?
As grave as such scenarios might be you have to chuckle at the absurdity of them. What kind of organization would operate like that? Ford Motor Company did operate like that.
Fords general staff officers didnt want the in-house shops involved in the components program they way I involved them. They didnt want them to look uniquely valuable because they planned to ship out as much of their work as possible to outside vendors. The officers in charge of design didnt want the modelers to lead anything big because they thought it would diminish their status. The officers in charge of finance and personnel didnt want their black GSR employees to distinguish themselves because they had plans to diminish the status of everyone who wasnt on the top team. If they could nail us without getting nailed by the feds they could do likewise to other overpaid groups to lower salary costs and boost the price of Ford stock.
Getting rid of the deadwood always looks good on paper to the financial markets. On paper it looked like Ford was moving aggressively to get rid of its deadwood and clear its corporate landscape for productive use. What happened to me in Interiors is a microcosm of how Ford did it throughout the company
I knew that Ed Jaquet did not want to see me working on instructions for assembling the kits even though he was now talking as though it was his idea. It might have been Jacks idea. I dont remember because Jack and I had many of the same ideas at the same time. Looking at the way we worked together and the situations that confronted us, you can see why. Anyhow, I wrote the assembly instructions for each component at home and gave them to Jack to critique.
Jack wasnt much help because we thought too much alike and he could see what I intended whether or not I spelled it out clearly on paper. So I took the instructions and the parts to some modelers in the Mustang studio, literally a step away from the Concepts side of Interiors, and asked them to go through the motions of assembling the components. I asked them to read each step aloud and tell me in their own words what they read as they did what they said.
They all told me that the instructions were so clear and simple that anyone could follow them. But when I heard them misinterpret one of the words and I saw them ignore some of the instructions I knew I had more work to do.
Simple is HARD. You can do anything if you make it complicated enough. Then the hard work of making it simple begins. It took over a month to reduce the assembly process to its simplest terms, which I had to do to make sure it worked whether I was there or not to supervise it. Putting it in writing with less than half a page of instructions for each unit insured that it would work if neither Jack, who got his promotion to A-modeler, nor I was around to supervise it.
It was a good thing that I put the process in writing. Soon after I did, Jack LaBlanc got orders from Personnel to rotate to a new studio.
A Sculptor-modeler named Don Painter, the older brother of Master Modeler Dennis Painter and the younger brother of Supervisor Dolph Painter, replaced Jack. Don had been on medical leave for about a year because of a rare heart condition. His last name gave him no special consideration. When he returned to work, his long absence did not count as unavoidable time off from work because of a life-threatening physical condition. It counted as bad performance. This was a bad omen.
Don Painter was as good to work with in his way as Jack was in his. Dons longer experience was an asset you could get only with long experience. His contributions to the work went into the system. We were soon turning out five models a day. If we had the draftsmans table with the bright, even lighting we could have done more because we wouldnt have had to rework any of them after we painted them.
The fact that Don brought something to the system that neither Jack nor I could have, struck me as a key to broadening the systems application throughout Ford Motor Co. Design and Engineering. Everyone who was competent in a given field could add something productive to the way Ford did things in that field. They could do it in a way that enhanced everyones individual performance level without compromising their individual styles. By using the differences in a systematic way instead of discouraging them or allowing them to breed and die on their own, we could do anything better than anyone else in the industry.
I tried to pass on this insight to Greg Arceri. He should have appreciated the principle. He was the best Supervisor I ever had. Some of the techniques I used to get the most out the human and material resources available to me were the same as his, particularly our ability to recognize and employ undervalued human assets. I would have bet my life that every leader at Ford who succeeded as dramatically as we did against odds that we wouldnt, had the same traits in common. I thought that he would at least understand what I was talking about. He didnt. He wanted to give all the credit to me for our success in Component and he thought I was being overly generous in giving the credit I gave to Jack LaBlanc and Dennis Painter.
He should have known better. He should have known that I was a hard marker and not at all modest about the things I did particularly well. I thought that my leadership in Components was exceptional but Bob Scotts mechanical drawings and the superb talents of Jack LaBlanc and Don Painter were fundamental to the success of the group.
Arceris focus on the quality and quantity of the components themselves caused him to miss the point entirely. It even caused resentment in the meetings he called for his whole modeling team when he sang my praises as though I had done everything myself. One angry modeler told me privately, All you did was make buttons. Anybody can do that.
Fortunately, Don Painter appreciated what I was trying to say. So did Cal Morrison. They would be vital assets to me in the Concepts work ahead.
Somewhere along the way the Interiors side of the Interiors studio got a new designation. It was called Concepts. Apprentice product designers and several modelers with various levels of experience where brought in to work on it. Janet Lee, a young graduate of Carnage-Melon was the first new designer. She knew nothing about automotive design, which didnt matter because she was hired to design innovative interior features that would give our interiors added value.
Added value was the latest in a never-ending string of Ford buzzwords. It meant interior features that gave the auto buyer a sense of having something cool in his car that he couldnt get in a competitors car extra goodies. Janets job was to conceive of those goodies. The modelers job was to make models of them. The engineers job was to make them feasible and the draftsmens job was to make mechanical drawings that could be used to manufacture them.
It was a good idea that should have worked. How was I to know that it wasnt supposed to work too well?
I wasnt aware of Concepts emergence from Interiors because it happened a little at a time, just as Components was disappearing a little at a time. I should have realized that the only way to get rid of me as the modeling leader of Components was to get rid of Components. The notion was so absurd that it never entered my mind, even when Don Painter was moved to Concepts and a graduate of Fords second 86 clay modeling class name Jay Smagelski replaced him.
She did not inherit Dons workstation. When Don left so did his desk.
Before Jay arrived Dennis Phinney joked, First they took away your light table. Then they took away one of your desks. The next thing you know theyll be taking you away.
It was a joke because it seemed that the Components section was still in place and its value had been demonstrated to such an extent that Ford couldnt afford to shut it down. It seemed like a joke a week later when Jay added something to the system that Don, Jack nor I had thought of. For a couple of days we got George Chertier on loan and I saw him do some things that I marveled at things that Jay and I could also do.
Dennis Phinneys joke turned sour when I returned to the studio after taking a vacation day off and I told Jay what a terrific job she did in my absence. I was secretly pleased that the system worked the way I believed it would no mater who was there to do the work as long as they were competent to begin with and understood the system. The downer came when Jay shrugged off the complement and told me that she didnt do anything difficult. I was taken aback by the angry edge to her words, as though I had insulted her by being so happy with work she did that she thought a monkey could do. Then the alarm bells in my head went off.
Jay had no idea of how much hard work went into making her job so easy and no respect for the one little thing she did that would make it easier for the people who followed her. As far as she was concerned, there was no system. All she saw was a logical way of doing things that anybody could see. She thought that it was Ed Jaquets idea. I dont think she ever believed it was mine.
Slowly, the Components section of the studio evaporated. Greg brought me into Concepts and sent Mike Wyman and Ed Fulwider to take over responsibility for the new projects that were coming into the former Components section. They did everything Ed Jaquet told them to do using the tried and true methods that made them Master Modelers.
A pay grade-8 designer took over the radios, climate control units, tape players and CD players. He did not plug into the system. He did the work so badly and took so long doing it that I would have been ashamed. I thought Ed Jaquet would be displeased. He was delighted. The designer was doing everything he told him to do the way he told him to do it. The designer was happy because he got to work lots of overtime.
I couldnt complain. When the Design Centers Personnel man spoke to the modelers, designers and engineers on my witness list all of them rated me as highly as the company rated them. They gave me an O.