United States Navy Yard,
Mare Island, California,
June 11, 1908.
(Subject: Navy yard organization; changes recommended to kept efficiency. Submitted by Naval Constructor H. A. Evans, in accordance with General Order No. 49.)
Sir: 1. In conformity with the provisions of General Order No. 49, I respectfully submit, for the consideration of the Department, proposed changes in navy yard organization, which if approved will, in my opinion, greatly increase the efficiency of the navy yards and will thereby improve efficiency of the Naval Service.
2. I have long felt that economy in the administration of naval affairs has not been given the attention that this subject deserves. The object aimed at by many earnest, capable officers is to get the work done in the time required with no thought of the cost. In time of war or threatened war I recognize that economy is of secondary importance; in time of peace, however, economy is of prime importance.
3. The navy is now attracting the attention of the people of the country and of Congress. There is no doubt that in the near future the people and Congress will exact an accounting for the vast sums that will be required for the maintenance of the Navy. In the next 10 years we shall probably reach a limit of cost for the maintenance of the Navy beyond which the country and Congress will not go. It will be demanded that the maximum protection be afforded for this money.
4. There are far too many officers in the service, both afloat and ashore, who have no thought of economy and, in fact, scorn to make any attempts at an economical administration. Every officer, both afloat and ashore, should be made to realize the time will soon come when we shall reach the limit that can be appropriated for the Navy, and that every dollar saved is one dollar's worth of additional Navy and one dollar's worth of additional protection for our country.
p356 5. There is no doubt that very large amounts can be saved by economical administration ashore, and that large amounts (much larger than would appear on the surface) can be saved by eliminating wastes in the expenditure of the large amount of stores, material, etc., furnished ships in commission. While I have some general knowledge of economics that can be effective afloat, this knowledge is not sufficiently great for me to speak with authority, and it is my intention to confine myself to that part of the subject with which I am thoroughly familiar — that is, navy yard organization and methods.
6. I have been on duty in large navy yards continuously for about ten years — 4 years of this as head of a large department and 6 years as senior assistant in a large department.
7. It has always been my intention not to remain in the Government service longer than the time required to fully repay the Government for my education and to render such service that would not only satisfy myself that I had fully repaid the Government but also those prone to criticize.
8. Leaving aside patriotic motives or motives which impel one to do his best for duty's sake, there is in my case the motive of self-interest, which would force me to look upon my work from the commercial point of view, the view which makes one get value received for every dollar expended. This position is necessary in order that I should not lose the commercial spirit and unfit myself for my future work after I leave the Navy. I have this always in view and it has been my aim to conduct the work under my charge, in so far as the regulations allow, exactly as if I were the manager of a large industrial establishment where the payment of dividends meant personal success and the failure to do so meant personal failure. Under these conditions I believe that I am in a position to intelligently criticize navy yard management and offer suggestions which, if adopted, will improve the efficiency of navy yards.
9. It is not my intention to submit recommendations relative to consolidation — not only consolidation of shops — but real consolidation; that is, consolidation of authority and responsibility, together with consolidation of shops, as this cannot be effected without consolidation at the Navy Department, and this is a subject which has already no doubt received the serious consideration of the Navy Department, and will no doubt be dealt with in the near future.
10. My purpose is to present recommendations, some of which can p357 be immediately put into effect, and the remainder can be made effective by sanction of Congress, which sanction, I believe, can be obtained, as the recommendations will appeal to business men in Congress. In other words, it is my wish to propose an organization which, while admittedly perhaps not the ideal, is one which will be a great improvement over the present, and will result in a marked increase in the efficiency of navy yards, and a very large saving in money.
(a) The present administration of navy yards is essentially a military one, while the principal object to be attained is not military but is industrial; that is, to repair ships in the shortest time for the least money, and to furnish supplies to the fleet.
(b) An industrial establishment conducted along military lines will never be a complete success, and to reach the highest success in an industrial sense, the military features of a navy yard must be completely divorced from the industrial plant. There are, however, some features that make military control of navy yards desirable, and there is no doubt that in the future, as in the past, military control will be continued.
(c) The necessity for greater efficiency of navy yards, however, demands that the industrial part of the work should be treated more as an industrial problem than as a military one, and that this part of the work should be made to conform as far as possible to modern industrial forms of management.
(a) With the present organization the commandant is both the military head and also the industrial superintendent. An examination of the provisions of the Navy Regulations will clearly show that the commandant is held directly responsible for every operation in the navy yard, even to trifling details. A few of the many articles fixing the commandant's responsibility are quoted below:
"Section 1. Art. 1681. (1) The commandant of a Navy Yard shall, p358 under the direction of the Secretary of the Navy, exercise entire control over every department in the yard, and will be held responsible for the preservation of all buildings, and stores contained therein of all the vessels in ordinary, and for the judicious application of all labor.
"(2) He shall see that all officers and others under his command, and all employees, perform their duty faithfully and efficiently, and that all returns and reports are made in the time and manner prescribed.
"(3) He shall see that no materials of any kind are diverted from their original use, except for proper purposes, and that no mechanic or other employee does any work during working hours except for public purposes; and none of the machinery plant or other government appliances shall be used in doing work for private parties, except in cases of emergency or when authorized by the Department.
"(5)º He shall approve all payrolls after satisfying himself of their correctness.
"Art. 1683. (4) He shall cause the fire department to be organized for day and night work and to be exercised at least once every month, both by day and night.
"Art. 1685. When a ship is ordered to be fitted out at a navy yard the fitting out shall be under the direction of the commandant, in conformity with general regulations and established allowances.
"Art. 1686. When the commandant is directed to build, fit out, or repair any ship, or to construct any building or to make any improvement at a yard, he shall cause an account to be opened against such ship, building, or improvement, debiting it with the cost of the labor and of the different materials used, detailed reports of which shall be forwarded to the proper bureau when the objects are completed.
"Art. 1688. (2) Proper scuttles and manholes shall be so arranged that easy access may be had to all parts of the cable bottom and to the spaces below the fire room, magazine, and other floors; and the commandant shall require these and all compartments and other spaces where dirt, shavings, or filings can accumulate to be thoroughly examined and be carefully cleaned.
"Art. 1691. (1) When a ship is transferred to the commandant of a yard at the expiration of a cruise, he shall have all the supplies and outfit in the several departments delivered into the charge of the proper officers and duly surveyed, and he shall require officers in charge of supplies to superintend their removal.
p359 "Art. 1693. (1) Ships at a navy yard shall be moved only by the authority of the commandant, and ships in 'ordinary' shall be moved and moored under the supervision of the captain of the vessel.
"Sec. 10. Art. 1724. When vessels are in 'ordinary' at a naval station, the commandant shall cause necessary precaution to be taken to guard them against deterioration in every department."
(a) The Department is well aware of the manner in which commandants are selected, and therefore there seems to be no necessity for dwelling on this subject other than to state that it appears that commandants are selected on account of their military attainments or on account of their rank, usually the latter being the governing feature. Very few or none of the commandants have the industrial training to fit them for the position of general manager of a large industrial plant, and with a few notable exceptions have neither the industrial training nor the industrial executive ability to administer such plants. Furthermore the commandant's time is so much taken up with office work and the military duties that he has little opportunity to supervise the industrial plant.
(a) At present the industrial plant of navy yards consists of a number of independent plants — construction and repair, steam engineering, equipment, ordnance, yards and docks, and the general storekeeper. The heads of these departments are absolutely independent of each other. The commandant, by regulations, is supposed to exercise a rigid supervision over all, and he alone has any authority over a head of department. In other words, in to his military duties he is supposed to perform the duties of general manager and general superintendent of the large industrial establishment.
(b) The situation is absolutely impossible. Each head of department administers his department according to his own ideas, and in one navy yard can be found five different forms of management — five different ways of doing the same thing. In one department, leaving work before quitting time merits discharge; in a department immediately p360 adjacent men habitually leave their work 15 to 20 minutes before whistle-blow, and their foremen freely mingle with them. In one department first‑class machinists, getting $4.16 a day, run turret lathes, while in a department immediately adjacent, helpers at $2.62 per diem run identical machines on similar work, and turn out more work. In one department will be found modern machine tools, perhaps lying idle, while in the department adjacent work is being done on obsolete machines, which were discarded by the modern department and picked up by the department doing the work. In one department oil is used in the blacksmith shop, while in a department immediately adjacent coal is used, although the cost of oil is not more than half the cost of coal. In one department "economy" is the watchword, while in a department adjacent economy is never considered. These differences can be enumerated at great length, and such differences in the same establishment make it extremely difficult for the head of the economical department to control his department. The tendency is always for the efficiency of the well-managed department to fall, not for the inefficient to rise, and there are many always ready to help in bringing down the efficient department while there is no demand that the inefficient shall be brought up to the proper state of efficiency.
(c) With a number of such departments, absolutely independent of each other, each with work depending on the other and their work overlapping, there is much time lost and much money wasted unless there is cordial co‑operation at every point of the work. Steam engineering cannot remove the boilers for repairs until construction removes the deck. Equipment cannot run the wiring until construction runs the conduit in which the wires go; construction cannot run their conduit until equipment lays out the leads. Construction cannot launch the ship until steam engineering puts on the propeller shafting. Construction cannot close in the deck until steam engineering puts in the boilers. Construction cannot undock the ship until steam engineering overhauls its valves etc., etc. These are questions that come up every day, and many delays occur for lack of an immediate satisfactory settlement.
(d) The successful management of a similar plant in civil life would never be attempted without a general superintendent who has had thorough training in shop methods and shop management, and who can get in close touch with the work. I might even go further and state that an industrial plant in civil life without such a superintendent is p361 impossible. I am sure that if the department will seek the advice of any competent industrial manager or engineer in civil life the above statement will be corroborated in every respect. Complete co‑operation in navy yard work is absolutely impossible without such a superintendent. I feel safe in saying that in my ten years in navy yards not a week passes that I have not seen time lost and money wasted for lack of co‑operation. I can give countless striking examples, but do not consider this necessary, as I believe that the department is aware of the conditions. The commandant who is the notable exception must feel the need of such a superintendent and the commandant who is not the exception perhaps does not realize the cause, but must know that the ships sent to his yard never seem to get away on time, and that at his yard the cost of work is excessive, and for no apparent reason.
(a) There are many advantages of consolidation of shops which is now taking place. There is, however, one serious disadvantage — that is, that it makes co‑operation even more necessary, and unless there is such co‑operation, there are sure to be serious delays — much greater delays than at present. Such co‑operation will never be obtained without a mechanical superintendent. At the present time, frequently construction work cannot proceed beyond a certain point until certain steam engineering work is completed, or vice versa. Before that point is reached the constructor takes up the subject with the engineer officer and is told that the work will be taken up in a "few days," or men are not available, that the machine shop is crowded, or some other reason is given. These reasons may be valid, and again they may not be, but anyway, the construction work is held up. The subject is taken up with the commandant and the engineer will then perhaps give even stronger reasons why he cannot go ahead, and in ninety-five cases out of a hundred, the situation after taking it up with the commandant is exactly as before doing so. The reason for this is not far to seek. The commandant is not familiar with the work and does not know what can be done and what cannot be done, he must get all his information from his heads of departments. He cannot tell which head of department is right, and fears to give positive instructions one way or the other. With consolidation of shops, where p362 one department has not only to depend on another department for the other department's work, but also for portions of its own work (for instance the castings) these difficulties will be multiplied. When the newness of consolidation has worn off, and other officers than those who first get the consolidated shops are in charge, the work of other departments is not going to be done as promptly as before — there will of course be exceptions. No one ever takes as much interest in your work as you yourself take.
(b) A short time ago the commanding officer of one of the large ships telephoned me about two o'clock in the afternoon that he had left in the freight shed two sections of five-inch copper pipe from the fire main, which had just given out, and could I possibly give him two new sections by eleven o'clock the next day, as he was under orders to sail at twelve. I asked him the length of the pipes and the number of bends, and receiving this information I told him that the new pipes would be ready by eleven o'clock. I sent the pipes of that copper shop and went down and told the coppersmith to start on the work immediately, and that it must be finished by eleven o'clock. He answered that this was impossible. I told him that the work must be done, and I stood over it and saw it well started. The next morning at eight o'clock I was again in the shop and at eleven o'clock the pipes were in the freight shed. Could this have been accomplished in the consolidated shop? When I received the telephone message I would have had to telephone to the officer in charge of the consolidated shop, and he would probably have answered that he could not tell until he saw the pipe. After the pipe was went to the shop it would have been inspected by the foreman and not the officer, and the foreman would have reported that the job was impossible. The officer would then have repeated this to me, and this would have been the end of it. If I had cared to take the question up with the commandant, the officer in charge of the consolidated shop would simply say "impossible," and what could the commandant do? He would not know whether the job was impossible or not and would be forced to take the word of the officer in charge of the consolidated shop.
(c) There will be many cases similar to this, and there is no question in my mind that with the present organization many serious delays will occur. This may bring its advantages, for I believe that the conditions will in a comparatively short time be so bad that it will force the remedy — that is, the appointment of a mechanical superintendent.
(a) I recommend the appointment in each large navy yard of an officer as mechanical superintendent.
(b) Such an officer must be by education and experience fitted for the position, and such as would be selected in civil life for the position. He must be an engineer in the broad sense of the word, and must be thoroughly familiar with modern shop management and modern shop methods. He must have had wide experience in handling a large force of civilian employees.
(c) The mechanical superintendent will, under the commandant, be in entire charge of the industrial establishment of the navy yard.
(d) He will control all shops, storehouses, drydocks, wharves, buildings used for industrial purposes, transportation facilities, appliances used for industrial purposes, and all work done in the shops, or in connection therewith. He will control all repairs or improvements to the industrial plant. He will control the organization of the employees of the industrial plant, and will have general charge of all such employees. He will be responsible for the economical and efficient administration of the industrial establishment.
(e) All orders and instructions from the Navy Department or its bureaus relative to work to be performed, improvements contemplated either in buildings or general equipment, or the industrial organization will be issued to the mechanical superintendent.
(f) The mechanical superintend will be subject to the orders and authority of the commandant of the yard. The commandant, however, will give due consideration to the opinion and advice of the mechanical superintendent on subjects connected with the industrial plant or its management, and will not assume active management of the industrial plant, or countermand the instructions of the mechanical superintendent except for grave reasons which must promptly be reported to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy.
(g) The mechanical superintendent will, while holding the position, have the rank and pay of a Captain of the Navy. He will, while holding the position be senior in rank, by virtue of the position, to all officers, except the commandant, connected with the industrial establishment, viz.: the heads of the departments of construction and repair, steam engineering, equipment, ordnance, yards and docks, supplies and p364 accounts, board of inspection, board of labor employment, and all officers attached to these departments.
(h) In the absence of the commandant the mechanical superintendent will not succeed to the command of the yard, such command passing to the line officer next in rank, as now provided for, and such officer while acting as commandant will have the same authority over the mechanical superintendent as the commandant.
(i) Requests for repairs, alterations, etc., to ships in commission will be referred to the mechanical superintendent and by him referred to the heads of the yard departments for report and estimate. When such reports are received the mechanical superintendent will forward them to the Navy Department with his recommendations. In cases where work recommended in one department will involve work in another department, recommendations and estimates will be submitted from all departments concerned in order that a complete report with total estimated cost can be forwarded to the Navy Department.
(j) General surveys and other reports recommending work on ships not in commission will be forwarded to the Navy Department through the mechanical superintendent.
(k) When work is authorized, the mechanical superintendent will be charged with the responsibility of seeing that the work is undertaken promptly in all departments and that the work is carried on in a logical, efficient, and economical manner. It will be his duty to promptly report to the commandant and the Navy Department any anticipated delays in completing work in the time required.
(m)º The mechanical superintendent will have authority to authorize absolutely necessary work on ships in commission where the estimated cost does not exceed $500. In cases of actual emergency he may authorize work where the estimated cost exceeds this amount, but in these cases he must promptly report to the Navy Department by telegraph the actions taken and the reasons therefor. The Navy Department may vest in the mechanical superintendent as occasion demands the authority to make repairs to ships in commission where the estimated costs exceed the limits imposed above.
(n) The mechanical superintendent will submit to the Navy Department at the end of each fiscal year a report covering the operation of all departments, for the year, the improvements made in the plant or equipment, or in methods of doing work and the improvements recommended.
The need of a superintendent whose duties will be similar to those outlined above is recognized by many officers in the service; the attempt to conduct an establishment like a large navy yard without such a superintendent is considered by competent engineers and managers in civil life as an absurdity. I have discussed this subject with a number of successful engineers and managers and they express great surprise that the navy yards could exist at all under the present methods. The wonder is that the improvement suggested has not been made long ago. In a bill recently introduced in Congress a subcommittee somewhat similar to that outlined above is proposed, except that it is proposed that the superintendent shall be a civilian. If there were not officers in the service competent to fill the position I would advocate the passage of this bill, as I feel so strongly the absolute necessity for a change.
There are a number of officers in the service who are in every way qualified to fill the position. It would seem that there are officers in the service who do not seem to realize this, and advocate the employment of men from the large civil industrial establishments. Surely, it is true that "a prophet is without honor in his own country." The proposition to go to civil life to get these men when large industrial establishments are going to the Navy to get men to fill similar positions, and in some cases, more important positions, would seem as the height of absurdity.
While the Navy has officers competent to fill the positions of mechanical superintendent, it must not be overlooked that the Navy has already lost many such men, and it is certain that many more will be lost if they are not given the responsibilities commensurate with their ability and a wider field of work.
p366 It is not so much the greatly increased salaries that can be obtained in civil life as it is the greater responsibilities and wider field that attracts officers to civil life. There are a number of officers in the service who think of little else than their work and their profession. If these officers are paid sufficient salary to enable them to properly care for their families and opportunities are afforded them to advance in their profession and they are given increased responsibilities as they acquire additional experience, they will remain satisfied and will not be tempted to resign and accept positions in civil life where the pecuniary reward is much greater. If, however, these officers are not given the opportunity to advance and are not given increased responsibilities, it is needless to expect them to remain in the service when they can obtain the responsibilities and also the reward in civil life. I trust that I may be pardoned for giving a personal example.
Up to the present time, and for perhaps a few years in the future, my responsibilities have been increasing, and I have felt all the time that I was advancing. At the present time the duty I have is almost as important as any I shall ever obtain. Three years from now — or at 40 — I will have had as important duty as I can ever hope to obtain (except in the remote contingency of becoming Chief Constructor, many years hence). Then, for 22 years I shall continue doing the same duty as I am doing now — no increased responsibilities — no wider field in which to work. After a few years, struggle as I may against it, the work instead of being a pleasure in my life will become a "grind," and I shall see the younger men coming along to take my place and I shall drop back to less important work, perfectly contented as I will have lost all desire for responsibility. In other words, my enthusiasm is gone, and without enthusiasm nothing can be accomplished. This is indeed a melancholy prospect for one whose work is his whole life. I have had several opportunities to accept positions of large responsibility in civil industrial establishments, and only recently I refused an offer of a position as vice president of a large industrial establishment at a salary more than twice as large as I can ever receive in the Navy, and with the prospect of succeeding to the presidency. In such a position the field is not limited — it is just as large as you care to make it. (The statements just made can be verified and the facts are known to the Chief Constructor and the Secretary of the Navy.)
If the change in organization recommended is carried out and men who have the qualifications previously enumerated are appointed to the positions, there is absolutely no doubt that there will be not only a much more economical administration of navy yards, but also that the work will be accomplished in less time, and there will not be the delay in completing repairs that have been experienced in the past. How often in the past has the department been led to believe from reports submitted that a ship undergoing repairs could be completed in 10, 20, or 30 days, and when the department, relying on these reports, ordered the ship in commission for special service, it is found that the time required to complete the work is two or even three times the time the department was led to believe would be required. A mechanical superintendent will correct this, or, if he does not, a new superintendent is required. How often are reports regarding repairs forwarded to the department in an incomplete state, and have to be returned for further information at considerable loss of time. Or, in some cases, the incompleteness of the report is not discovered and work is authorized by the department at a given estimated cost, only to find that the work cannot proceed until work under other bureaus is authorized, at perhaps a greater cost than the first estimate. To cite an example, report is submitted regarding the necessity of retubing the boilers of an old torpedo boat, together with an estimate of the cost. This report is received at the department, and careful consideration is given to whether the boat's future usefulness will warrant the outlay, and it is decided that it will, and the work is authorized. It is then found at the yard that owing to cramped space the boilers will have to be removed for retubing. This involves the removal of the deck under construction, the removal of the wiring under equipment, and the conduit containing the wiring under construction, and the removal of the torpedoes and circles under construction and ordnance. The expenditure of these removals and replacing the fittings may actually exceed the cost of retubing the boilers. With a mechanical superintendent these questions will all be considered before the first report is submitted to the department, and the department will have p368 before it a full report giving the total estimated expenditure and will then be in a position to act intelligently on the proposition.
The above is all on the assumption that there is a real mechanical superintendent and not a "make believe" one. If we are to have a "make believe" superintendent — one who stays in his office and forwards papers and occasionally goes into the shops and interferes with work which he knows nothing about, we have then added to the red tape and accomplished nothing — in fact, we have retrograded. It is not intended that the superintendent should be a commandant of the industrial plant — he is to be a superintendent as the title is understood in modern civil industrial establishments. He is to keep in close touch with the work in the shops. He is to have the ability to personally direct the work if necessary. He is to know intimately the capabilities and the weaknesses of the foremen, quartermen, and leading men, and in time will know personally the abilities of the majority of the mechanics. He is to know the best methods to be followed in the shops and to personally see that those methods are followed. He is to see that the methods of management throughout the yard are uniform. Such a superintendent must be a man who will have the respect of the mechanical force — not only the respect as a man, but the respect that a mechanic has for a man over him that he knows is qualified to direct him, and knows how the work should be done. Nothing is more disorganizing than to have a man in authority attempting to direct work who makes himself the object of ridicule from the mechanical force under him. Nothing strengthens an industrial organization like having the superintendent, when a particularly difficult proposition presents itself — which perhaps the outside force have failed to solve and are standing around in a disorganized way — who can step in and personally get into the job, dirtying his hands and his clothes if need be, and after making a full investigation, give explicit directions as to how the work shall be carried out, and for these same men who had been up against a stone wall to see the job successfully carried to completion as laid out by the superintendent. To a lesser degree perhaps, but also important is the superintendent's ability to personally devise appliances, machines, and methods for reducing p369 the cost of work. This is the kind of superintendent that is wanted in navy yards, and is the only kind that is wanted. Supply such superintendents and give them the authority and the support of the department and the results will quickly and surely follow.
The inspection of navy yard accounts has been proposed from time to time for a number of years past. The necessity for inspection of accounts is of minor importance compared with the necessity of inspection of shop methods, and management, and the use made of the accounts. There is a striking tendency in the Government service to pay a great deal of attention to the accounts and the paper work in general, and to neglect the actual work. In other words, if the accounts are properly kept and the paper work is promptly attended to there is little investigation as to the cost both in time and money to do the actual work. Accounts are only of value in the use that is made of them. The Government goes to large expense to keep records of cost of work. In nearly all cases these records have only the value of waste paper, as they are little used. Accurate records of cost are of great value in enabling a manager to analyze the costs and see where the money is going, and where money can be saved. To a manager who is qualified for his position an analysis of the cost of work shows him the weakness of his organization. An inspection of accounts by one who is not qualified by education and experience to analyze the costs and then go into the shops and put his finger on the uneconomical methods is of little value. Indeed, such an inspection further emphasizes the already too much emphasized tendency to magnify the importance of the accounts and paper work simply as "accounts," and as a means by which the defects in methods or management can be located and remedied and costs reduced.
At the present time great improvements can be made in navy yards by a competent inspection of methods of manufacture and methods of management, together with an inspection of the accounts. The two go together, and the methods of manufacture and management are far more important than the accounts, if the two are separated. Such p370 inspection to be of any value can be made only by one who is himself thorough and has by long experience and study made himself a master of modern shop methods and modern successful forms of management. Navy yard accounts, or for that matter, any modern form of manufacturing cost accounts, are not so intricate that they require an expert accountant to inspect them; the one who is competent to inspect the methods of manufacture and management can readily learn the methods of accounting, if he is not already thoroughly familiar with them, while the one who is only an inspector of accounts could never make himself competent to inspect shop methods.
If all the good methods in all the navy yards were collected and all followed in one navy yard it is very probable that that yard would be very efficient. In each yard there are found some good methods. Nearly all officers, nearly all foremen, have some specialties — whether it is methods of manufacture or management — which they have devoted considerable time to and which have been brought to a high state of efficiency. In one yard the inspector will find air ports turned in an engine lathe, while in another yard he will find the same air ports turned in a turret lathe, with proper tools, in one quarter of the time. In one yard the inspector will find wood calkers calking •100 feet a day of three-thread work, and the foreman and head of department considers this a good day's work, while in another yard he will find that the head of department has made a careful study of calking and is getting •225 to 250 feet of the same work (both on day work).
A critical, competent inspector will find many, many examples similar to those cited. It will be his business not only to criticize, but also to become a disseminator of good methods. He observes at one yard the good methods followed and at the next yard visited he describes the methods followed and the results obtained, and at the end of his inspection sends out to all yards a bulletin of all the good methods obedient. On his next visit he sees whether the improved methods suggested have been adopted; if not, it is up to the head of that department to prove by results that he has a still better method. In other words, such inspection will standardize the good methods and eliminate the bad methods.
It is recommended that there be appointed an inspector of navy yards, this inspector to be attached to the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy and to be subject only to his orders.
The inspector of navy yards must be an officer fitted by education and experience for the position and such as would be selected in civil life for the position. He must be an engineer in the broad sense of the word, and must be a master of modern shop methods and modern shop management.
The selection of a proper inspector means success; the selection of an incompetent man means failure. In addition to the professional requirements given, the inspector should be filled with enthusiasm; one who will be ever a seeker after knowledge; one who will ever be a seeker after a better way of doing a job; one who will get in close touch with the successful managers and engineers in civil life and obtain the benefit of their experience and knowledge; one who will go into the most modern foundry in the country and spend days there intelligently observing the methods and will be able to show others how it was done; one who is not looking for a soft place in Washington, but is always looking for hard work; one who expects to make, and is making, industrial management his life work.
It is needless to expect the highest measure of success from an inspector who has not the qualifications enumerated. There are officers now in the Navy who are qualified for the position, and the new era which will be inaugurated if these recommendations are carried out — an era of economical administration — will develop many men fully qualified for the position.
The inspector of navy yards will, under orders from the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, visit the various navy yards and will make inspections of the methods of manufacture, methods of management, condition of shops, buildings, shop equipment, and general yard equipment. He will also inspect the methods of keeping accounts. His inspections will be confined to the yards as industrial plants, and not as military establishments.
It is not intended that these inspections shall be short, hurried calls, where only superficial inspection can be made, but it is expected that inspector will remain long enough at each yard to fully investigate p372 actual working conditions. For the first inspections of large yards not less than a month shall be taken, and the inspection is not only to be an investigation of the big problems, but is also to be a close study of the little problems, even down to the detailed methods of handling all classes of work in the shops.
The inspector will have no authority to give directions as to how work will be done, or to authorize any improvement in buildings, machines, or equipment, or to authorize an expenditure of money. He can, however, and is expected to, suggest improvements in methods, management, or equipment, and if such suggestions are not accepted and carried out he will make specific report of the fact to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. The inspector will issue to the various navy yards suggestions as to improvements in methods by means of bulletins.
He will report to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy the results of his inspections and his recommendations.
To do the work laid out for the inspector in a very short time an assistant would be required, who should be an officer. I feel satisfied that the good results obtained from such inspection will be so great that the field of work would soon be enlarged and there would be organized in the Assistant Secretary's office an office of shop improvers. If officers could not be spared for assistants, technical graduates with some experience could be obtained who would be the shop observers. These men could be trained, just as Mr. Fred W. Taylor trained his assistants, and they would remain with the work for considerable time at moderate pay, well knowing that the experience gained would insure them excellent positions in civil life. The inspector with his assistants would form the "planning department of methods" for all navy yards. This planning department would follow closely the methods of the successful industrial establishments, and by visits and studies of these establishments be able to introduce these methods in the navy yards. In other words, this planning department would be expected to select the best methods of the principal successful industrial establishments and adapt them to navy yard conditions.
Some may think that the necessary information cannot be obtained from industrial establishments in civil life; they need have no fear on this subject, as there will be no trouble on this score. I have repeatedly p373 asked for information and data from managers and engineers throughout the country and have been surprised at the trouble taken to give the information desired in the greatest detail. I have no doubt that the feeling of patriotism has much to do with the spirit manifested in furnishing data. With such an organization the methods in navy yards will be kept uniform — that is, uniformly good, and will be kept at least abreast the best forms of management in civil life. Should a weak spot develop, or a spot be found that could not be brought up to the standard by the ordinary methods, there is at hand the means for effecting a remedy. The planning department would take hold of the department under directions from the Assistant Secretary and bring it up to the standard, just as the president of a company calls in a firm of shop improvers to bring up the efficiency of his run‑down shop or run‑down department.
To carry out the recommendations regarding the proposed inspector of navy yards, no legislation is necessary, and the department can immediately, if it so desires, put into effect the scheme prepared. It is highly desirable, however, that an officer performing the important duties of inspector of navy yards should have the rank and pay of a captain in the Navy, while holding the position. I suggest that if the department thinks well of the plan proposed it be made immediately effective, and that legislation be requested to give the inspector the rank and pay of a captain in the Navy.
The plans proposed, if carried out, will undoubtedly greatly increase the efficiency of the navy yards. The additional expense to the Government of establishing the positions recommended is very small. This expense, when measured by the results obtained, both in time of doing work and the savings effected, will be infinitesimal. If the department doubts my judgment as to the necessity for the changes prepared and the results to be obtained by these changes, I earnestly urge that some civilian engineer or manager like Mr. Fred W. Taylor, Mr. F. V. Halsey, or Mr. C. U. Carpenter, or Messrs. Dodge and Day, be secured to p374 make an investigation of navy yards and report to the department their conclusions. I am satisfied that such engineers will not only endorse the recommendations that I have made, but will go much further in separating the military features of the yard from the industrial features.
The administration of navy yards is attracting much attention from Congress. Only a short time ago a bill was introduced to appoint a competent commission to investigate the conditions in the various yards and report to Congress. During the last session a bill was introduced by a member of the Naval Committee to reorganize navy yards and appoint a civilian manager. The prominent newspapers of this country are devoting considerable space to the management of the navy yards, and the people of the country are being taught to believe that not only are they, the navy yards, being grossly mismanaged but also that the naval authorities cannot effect a remedy. The naval authorities can effect a partial remedy at once, and with the help of Congress can effect a complete remedy. I believe that this help will be forthcoming if a straight business proposition is put to Congress and the help is requested. If the naval authorities do not effect a remedy it will only be a matter of a few years until the remedy is forced by Congress and the Navy will be ridiculed throughout the country and its officers classed as incompetents. Such an exposition will cause many people to lose confidence in the Navy and may seriously retard the development of an adequate fleet for the protection of the country.
H. A. Evans,
U. S. Navy.
The Secretary of the Navy,
Washington, D. C.
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