Efficiency in Work

By Vince Mrykalo, Technical Editor
From a recent MPT journal article

This issue I want to talk about is efficiency in your work, whether it is home service or rebuilding in the shop. There are just so many hours in the day, and you cannot thrive very well if too many of those hours are spent laboring. If you are selling your service at the price level you should be at, there is but one way you can better your situation and that is to increase your efficiency.

The conscientious technician will reject as short-sighted, the idea that slighting quality and/or billing the customer for work not actually done will increase income and leisure time. Also, never be deceived into believing that speeding up the job at the expense of quality constitutes efficiency.

True efficiency is achieved when a job is done to definite standards of quality in the least amount of time possible consistent with the amount of energy that you have. Even though you can expend energy at a high rate for short periods of time, normally you expend energy far below the maximum output when you are working for an extended period of time. You have your own energy potential and in achieving efficiency must learn your potential and pace your energy output accordingly.

One of the great robbers of efficiency is wasted motion. It steals both time and energy. Be alert to the motion saving habits, procedures, and sequences that are available to you.

A highly important factor in tuning efficiency is a sensitive tuning lever technique. It is wise to learn to apply the force of moving the tuning pin rapidly yet controlled and as accurately as you possibly can. Lever technique, like the pianist’s touch, is the result of long and intelligent practice. Every time you undershoot or overshoot the mark that you intended to hit when moving the pin, you have wasted time and energy. The essence of expert lever technique seems to be this: project your thinking and sense of touch into the part of the pin that is in the block. This will help you be aware of merely twisting the pin as opposed to turning it in the block, and at the same time being aware of pitch change, and whether the pitch change will stay put or not.

A thorough knowledge of regulating procedure is of prime importance in efficiency. An awareness of what regulating procedure affects what other regulating procedure(s), will dictate what course you will take. Usually a quick go-through of the regulation is in order before you can finely regulate. Getting the shanks off the rail, making sure the repetition springs are strong enough, and making sure drop is present, will get you going. Then getting the jacks lined up correctly under the knuckles, and setting the back checks might be the next thing to complete. You then may want to go over the springs again before regulating jack height. Usually it is best to see what you are facing before you dig in. In regulating, the greatest time saver is thinking, spending some time assessing the situation.

Tools and equipment have much to do with being efficient. Needless to say they should be of high quality. Tools that are seldom used should also be of high quality. You may find your sense of competency increased with high quality tools whether often or seldom used. Learn how to use them. Learn proper grips and how to properly position them.

Concentration is a big factor, maybe the biggest, in achieving efficiency. Ability to concentrate is gained by unrelenting practice. However, in the practice of concentration, will power is not very helpful, and may be even harmful! Approach the task with interest. Work until such time your interest wanes, or your attention wanders to some other matter. Stop at once and forget the job at hand. Once rested, you will again be able to concentrate. The more you follow this routine, the longer you will eventually be able to concentrate. Remember: you can do nothing well when your attention is divided. Always work when you work and rest when you rest. It sounds funny, but the two just don’t mix.

Having striven to be efficient, you may have not saved enough time to do another job, but to be sure, you will have become much less fatigued, have found a little more spare time, and obtained an even more pleasant disposition!