Can We Add Value To Our Normal Job Activities?

Value addition wasn’t just about numbers—it was about passion, pride and the threads that bound us all, observes Murugan Santhanam

“Why do you think value addition (VA) is important in a spinning mill?”, I recently asked the GM of a renowned spinning mill near Rajapalayam.

He is a well-celebrated by textile technologists in our area for his implementation of innovative ideas in his spinning mill.

He just leaned back in his chair, eyes twinkling. “Sure, I’d love to share my thoughts! I believe VA is crucial because it adds extra value to the product beyond what is already expected. It sets the product apart from competitors and creates unique selling points,” he explained.

“The overall concept sounds good. However, what VA can a spinning machine operator add to the yarn, except mending an end break?”, I asked him.

He smiled and replied. “Though it seems the sider may not be able to physically add value to the yarn itself, he can contribute through attention to detail and consistency during the mending process. Also, they can provide valuable feedback to management regarding potential improvements in the spinning process.”

I couldn’t still figure out what a spinning sider could do regarding value addition in his work. So, I threw a follow up question. “Why should he do this additional VA activity? Anyway, he is going to get fixed wages for his workload!”

His eyes crinkled at the corners when he replied. “That’s a valid question. But we don’t have a fixed workload and wages!”

I was shocked to hear that. “How is it possible?” I asked him.

“Okay! Now tell me, what are the duties of a spinning sider?”. Instead of giving me an answer he raised a question.

“Mmm…When yarn breaks occur, operator mends them. He replaces exhausted bobbins promptly, ensuring uninterrupted production. He removes any lapping from clearer rollers. When traveller flyouts happen, he replaces them. And finally, he does headstock cleaning,” I replied as far as my memory went.

“Okay! With all these duties, how many spindles can a sider look after?”, he asked me.

“Maybe 3500 for finer counts and 1500 for very coarser counts”

“You are right! But what if we assign the sider only the mending job?”

“I have no idea!”

“We may allot more than 6000 spindles according to the end breakage rate!”

Pausing a moment he continued, “That too irrespective of the count! Even for coarser counts, we may add a greater number of spindles to him.”

I got intrigued now. “How?” I pressed.

“I’ll explain one by one. First, when we assign only the mending work, his efficiency will improve. Second, when he was doing other works like creeling and cleaning, the machine will not wait for his return but keeps on having more end breakages at its usual rate. This increases the ends down percentage at a particular moment. You know what? This would create a cascading effect. The flies liberated from the open end of the broken yarn would start disturbing the yarn balloons of other running spindles and cause more yarn breaks. This may be exponential in due course.”

I listened to him silently. I couldn’t agree him more!

He continued. “So, these work assignments are based on the VA suggestions received from our employees. Regarding coarser counts, it’ll be easy for the operator to pick the yarn end up from the cop easily. So, some operators prefer to look after more spindles in these counts. For changing bobbins, we are having a separate team. We calculate the number of persons in that team based on 400 bobbin changes per person. This team is combined with the doffers team. It has some added benefits. The time taken for doffing as well as replacing exhausted bobbins will get reduced. As we follow the batch feeding system, it’s easy to calculate the number of bobbins being exhausted per shift and easy to change bobbins all at once.”

“Wow! It’s interesting. Please explain about it more” I said.

“Here, one thing I must tell which is very much noteworthy. Though we have fixed the workload as 6000 spindles, it is the minimum workload. If a spinning sider wants to have more workload, it is allowed. I believe physical capacity varies from person to person. So, whoever wants to earn more will have the flexibility here,” he said.

“But…,” I hesitated, “Now… I have a couple of questions. One is, won’t the siders be scared that the management would insist them to see more workload than others are doing? The second one, what if they slack off in doing VA?”

“We won’t insist like that. In fact, it’s human nature that, when somebody is earning money, he will also try to follow him. For your second question, by valuing operators’ contributions, the mill encourages a proactive approach. When he shares insights with management, we listen. We tweak processes, fine-tune our craft. And in return, the operator receives more than just a pay cheque through incentives”.

‘Wow! VA wasn’t just about numbers—it was about passion, pride and the threads that bound us all,’ I thought. I thanked the GM and bid goodbye to him.

As I left the GM’s office, I glanced at the spinning frames. Each spindle spun tales of diligence and whispered promises of quality. The sider, unnoticed by most, is working his magic silently!

(Murugan Santhanam is the Managing Director of Texdoc Online Solution Pvt. Ltd.)

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