New Thermal Spray Boss

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I wanted to write in this post about my friend’s experience many years ago in a thermal spray coatings facility which was going through some tough times financially. To be more specific, it was one location of a multi-plant thermal spray coatings service shop that was weak financially; and with his luck, he was working in that location Whether it is thermal spray or anything else, he always seemed to be at the wrong place at the wrong time Everyone from thermal spray operators to thermal spray engineers to customer service people were walking on egg-shells not knowing when the axe would fall on their heads and fridays were always seeming like the axe mysteriously came closer. The really really big boss decided that they needed a change in management ( good move ) and went and hired this new guy with a lot of experience in management but no experience in thermal spray ( not a good move ). Let us give a fictitious name to this new boss; lets call him Mr.Doolittle. So Mr.Doolittle walks into his new job the first day with a fancy suit and tie, jingling the coins in his pocket I was told and I shook my head to myself and told my friend, “this guy aint lasting more than one year” and everyone there thought I was simply being cynical in my outlook. I told them “I never thought much of a man who jingles the coins in his pocket.”

So Mr. Doolittle comes in and the first thing he does is to re-furnish his corner office; put in new curtains, new desk, fancy chair, a new computer with a big screen and then hires a new thermal spray engineer and lays off two thermal spray operators on the floor within a matter of six weeks. Mind you this person had no clue as to what the real problem was why they were losing money. “We need better organization”, he said and apparently implemented a formal meeting every morning that lasted for ever, it seemed like. He went on sales trips that brought in no sales and problem solving trips that solved no problems. Meanwhile, the really really big boss was getting the big expense bills and the fat salary that he was paying Mr.Dolittle. The division apparently continued to lose money and the morale amongst the thermal spray operators and maskers and others kept going down.

Two years later, I guess the really really big boss woke up one morning and decided he was going to fire this Dolittle person, but didn’t have the heart to do so ( bad heart condition ). That day, Mr. Dolittle calls him up on the telephone and tells the big boss that he would like to tend his resignation since he received a new job offer from some other company ( unrelated to the thermal spray industry ). I guess the big boss had a miraculous dream of getting rid of Mr.Dolittle and he didn’t even have to fire him So two years and lots of cash later, Mr.Dolittle was gone, but the division was still not making any money. At least it was losing less money now

The moral of this story is really simple. The manager or leader of a thermal spray shop must be well versed in the thermal spray industry. He or she does not have to be an ace thermal spray operator or a top level coatings scientist, but he needs to have had hands on experience in the business. Management skills alone will not cut it and above all hiring someone with common sense helps too.

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