Isqua Istari

The Wise Wizards

Cascading Failure: Lumber Edition

Posted in Other,Short Stories by Ziggy Wednesday December 4, 2013 at 13:27

Sometimes things just seem to “go wrong”. My suspicion is that this is a result of putting off solving problems until they build up and overflow into non-related areas. Here’s an example from today.

I need to shoot in a part with the laser tracker in building B. Sadly, the genius laser tracker guy is out of the country (doing laser tracker stuff), and the backup genius is also overseas. There’s a few standby marginally competent laser tracker guys on the project, but they can’t figure out my part.

So we went to get help from another project. The laser tracker guy on the other project is packing crates right now, so I said I’d help them with the crates if they help me with the laser tracker tomorrow. I get over to building C, and they need some 2x4s to finish packing these big metal parts. I say I’ll go get some, but there aren’t any in this building. So I go back to B get some 2x4s, and building B is all out of them too.

What I mean to say is they have some, but they aren’t loaded in to the lumber rack, and the lumber rack has a bunch of miscellaneous parts stacked in front of it, so the fork truck can’t reach it, and if I de-band the lumber, all the lumber falls apart and it becomes really hard to load.

So I grab two other guys from my team and we haul all the stuff out of the way to get fork truck access to the lumber rack. Then we need to stack the existing 4x4s on top of the new 4x4s so that we can get the 4x4s off of the 2x4s so we can load them so that I can de-band the 2x4s to take a couple over to the other building to help build a crate so the standby laser tracker guy (who is also a bit fuzzy on how to shoot my part) can help to shoot the part so we can ship in a week.

So we get the 4x4s over to the stack, but we need some dunnage to space out the stack so that we can pull the forks out. But we don’t have any 2x4s… because because apparently all of the 2x4s we have are on the bottom of the stack.

So I cut a couple of 1x4s and double them up. And of course they aren’t quite tall enough, so I get another guy to shove on the stack and it eventually unloads on top of the other stack.

At this point the fork truck runs out of fuel.

So we unload the propane tank from the fork truck, haul it over to the propane cage, and neither of us can remember the combination to the propane cage lock.

So we ask someone, get the combination, re-fuel the fork truck, load the lumber, sweep up, move everything back and take a pair of 2x4s over to the other building, where I discover that they have already dug up some 2x4s from who knows where. And in any case, while I was doing all of that the laser tracker was allocated for a critical test fixture, because they can’t assemble the real fixture until the test fixture checks out. And the real fixture is going out on the same shipment that my tool is shipping on, so the test fixture needs to be done first.

So, basically, I spent all morning loading lumber onto a rack. And really, it may not matter, because our customer is going to be around a month late with some critical parts, so all of this may ship next month instead of next week.

I think the bottom line is that I need to learn how to use the laser tracker so that I can be the genius laser tracker guy, and then someone else can load lumber… On the other hand, it’s kind of nice to load lumber every once in a while, and all of the laser tracker geniuses seem to never see their families because they are always overseas.

Anyhow, you can see how if people had taken care of their own problems in a timely fashion this sequence wouldn’t have built up like this. So, don’t let problems pile up. Solve them today! And, if you keep encountering problems… keep solving them until they are all gone. Don’t give up half way through.

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