Information Verses Labor Term Paper

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I always have to toot the horn for information verses skilled labor. Coming

from a fairly leftist working class person, it may seem a bit odd, but we have to

roll with the times. Besides, the same types of people that would be the top dogs in

the old union version of production should have the approximate brain capacity

needed to implement the theory I am about to lay upon you.

In my line of work, ornamental metals fabrication, there are some pretty

weird shapes that need to be manufactured. Once they are designed, there are

usually some shop drawings made, and after approval of the fabrication concept

and finish dimensions by the architect or designer, the drawings are given to a

master craftsman to turn the concept into reality. One of the drawbacks to this

process is that some of the shapes drawn need to be laid out in flat-pattern form

before they can be made. The math that is required to perform this (or the

old-school tricks) is done by the high-priced journeymen. Even the simpler parts

still need to be laid out, and this is done by other semi-skilled and relatively

high-priced workers.

With the invention and subsequent improvements in computer aided design

(of which AutoCAD is the most popular brand), the interpretation stage can be

performed on the same desk top and by the same person that does the original

drafting. The savings in cost are tremendous for several reasons. First and most

obvious is the ability to have lower skilled and thus lower paid workers on the

factory floor manufacturing the items. The information now is just transferred to

the shop, as opposed to generated there.

Another place where savings are found(and the largest, from my

experience) is in the removal of a large amount of mistakes and rework on the

factory floor. The computer generated information can be manipulated and tested

before it has been manufactured. A scale model can be printed and folded like

origami; the information can even be "folded" on the computer screen and

integrated with other corresponding pieces that have been generated similarly.

Other places that offer savings is the ability of the program to be integrated

with purchasing and inventory programs (I haven't explored these yet, but they are

available); the ability to alter or update information immediately and accurately;

and the ease to store and retrieve archival information.

I have not been able to convince the powers that be that this system would

work. Though one of my superiors is very interested, the owner of the company

believes that our industry is so specialized that it would not work in our case, but I

know for a fact it would: the last place I worked I helped to implement just this

system, and it proved very successful. We do have AutoCAD in use, but it is used

only to generate conventional blueprints in lieu of a drafting table. I could prove it,

given the chance, but I tire of trying to prove AutoCAD to an autocrat.

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