How to Prevent “A Good Shift Gone Bad…"

By Paul Borders, CMRP, Principal Consultant, Life Cycle Engineering

A good shift gone bad…

Eddie pulled into the parking lot at the plant ready to go back to work. As a shift supervisor, he was looking forward to a smooth, drama-free shift. All his best employees were at the plant this rotation and he could count on them to do a great job. As he parked his car, he saw Pete, the shift supervisor he was relieving, drive past him in a hurry.

“Leaving early again,” thought Eddie as he entered the plant and quickly assessed the situation.The hot mill was running and all his folks were in place to turn the shift over. He quickly ran the numbers from the prior shift and saw that they had exceeded the production target, a promising indicator of what he would experience.

About 10 minutes later, the maintenance supervisor showed up at his door, looking angry. “Why are you guys still running? You know we’ve got a major roll change going on and you’ve not even started to let things cool down on the mill! My guys are going to have to twiddle their thumbs while it comes down to temperature,” he shouted as he angrily stomped off.

After lots of radio communications and some annoyed operators threw their tantrums,

Eddie was able to shut the mill down. After a while, the crew was able to change out the roll and get the hot mill restarted. “Now it’s time to make some pounds!” Eddie exclaimed to his team.

“Not so fast, Eddie,” responded one team member. “I just ran into Ralph from R&D and he said something about running a trial with a new alloy in about 15 minutes.” Eddie then spied Ralph coming down the line with a clipboard and a laptop.“What’s this I hear about you running a trial today?” asked Eddie.

“We’ve been talking about this for weeks!!!  I even called Pete on the shift before you to remind you!” Ralph exclaimed. Eddie resigned himself to the fact that his shift wasn’t going to be a good one due to lack of good communications from his prior shift. “A good shift gone bad,” sighed Eddie,“and none of it my fault!”

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