I work in Yonkers, just a few miles from Kimber. A few years back they (Kimber) asked us to quote on some metal stampings for them, so I got to visit their factory. An impressive place.
I am only going to discuss here, the idea of stealing.
Kimber has impressive anti-theft measures in place. They have metal detectors to see if you are leaving with any metal objects. This is to prevent the theft of guns or gun frames.
It occurred to me back then that they were going about this all wrong. They only watched to see what was taken out of the building.
As long as all of the billet was accounted for, they felt secure. So letís say they ordered 1,000 billet blocks for the gun frames. If 995 frames turned out OK and 5 were bad, then the 5 bad pieces had to show up in the inventory too. As long as all the billet was accounted for, there is no theft.
Their problem is that they are watching what is leaving the building only.
Now, letís say I worked at Kimber. Instead of trying to get a gun frame out of the building I, instead, sneak an extra billet every day or so into the building. I then put the extra billet on the production line and set aside a finished frame.
I find a way to deposit the frame finished in the trash or dumpster. No one is looking for it because all of the billet it accounted for.
Now you would have to get slides, barrels, etc., but none of that is controlled and you can get them at gun shows very cheaply.
I did not invent this game. A stewardess I knew used to sneak a few mini bottles of liquor onto every flight. They retailed for $4.00 each. They had to account for all the bottles or the equivalent in cash. She could make an extra $30 or $40 for each flight. She flew locally so she could do 3 or 4 flights a day. They got suspicious and started checking around but never figured out to look for what was being carried into the plane. They only looked for what was missing.
I didn't post this to give anyone a heads up on how to steal. It is more a cautionary tale that I hope gets back to gun manufacturers: Watch what goes into the building as closely as what leaves the building.
Definitely an interesting observation and story. As a none gun industry related manufacturer I work with and supply to several company's who are so formally process oriented (ISO, Kiasan, 5-S's, take your pick) I can definitely see how that could happen. Myopic. A manufacturer has to maintain a certain level of processes and procedures to function properly but many of the systems in use today take it way too far in my opinion. To the point were I sometimes question if the process is the mission or is it really production output for sale at a profit.
The result is often a work force that can't see beyond the process and engage in real problem solving without consulting the oracle. What happens when the oracle doesn't have the answer? It's funny but true. The antidote is striking a balance between process and the real difference maker which is the talent, intelligence and work ethic of the work force in question. As good as some hand books, processes and procedures may be they cannot think beyond the boundaries of their origin. A good employee can.
The week before last, I had duty at the Smith & Wesson plant in Houlton, Maine. They check everyone and everything coming into building as well as going out. People through the metal detector, bags through the conveyor, just like at the airport. And you're right, gun plants are interesting places.
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