Last week I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with Harold at the plant in Harvey. I have always had a lot of respect for his ability and character, but after spending the day out there with him, I have concluded that the guy is simply fabulous.
As you know I have been planning for a long time to go out and look over those 6000-ton babies which I have been hearing so much about. When Harold first told me about those giant forging machines, he said, with characteristic modesty, that he was going out on a limb in recommending their construction. After all, a million dollar installation is something to pioneer, but gambling a reputation for sound judgment for such big stakes is risky.
We spent the afternoon going through the plant, starting from scratch where they chop off five-inch steel bars like so many bread sticks in an Italian restaurant. The flow of hot bar segments through the furnaces to the National and the Ajax was really a sight for a pop-eyed blacksmith.
But to get back to Harold. The guy is not only a great technician but also is an organizer and a psychologist. The fact that he has a thousand and one details constantly in his mind did not prevent him from being able to call practically every man in the shop by his first name. To call a thousand men by name requires more than mere memory; it requires an inherent sense of human kindness. This humanitarian attitude is carried out further in the new incentive plan. The feeling of the men toward this plan was aptly expressed by Gene Davis, a husky hammer man, who said when Harold asked him about it, “I wish you had started something like this 20 years ago.”
During our tour of the plant, which was resumed after talking with Gene, there was not a single interruption from the front office. The plant signal clanged now and then, but not once did it ring for the boss. It finally dawned on me that this guy had that plant ticking like an eight-day clock. Every last man from the night watchman to the Works Manager knows the plays, and every play gains yardage (or should I say tonnage?) like a champion football team.
Undoubtedly there are many manufacturing enterprises in the United States that are just as outstanding, but I doubt that there are many that can top the teamwork I saw in that plant. I feel confident that as long as the people of this Nation are able to continue to operate under our present incentive system, we are not going to have many worries about being placed in a cradle-to-the-grave straitjacket.