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Zero Defects Manufacturing versus In-process Manufacturing
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In the years following World War 2 until about 1975, as a sales and national accounts manager for a tab card manufacturer and later with major computer manufacturers, I drove past factories with a banner on their building saying Zero Defects Manufacturing. The federal government pushed this manufacturing process and many of their bids had it as part of the requirements.  During this same time government agencies were in Japan introducing the new concepts of In-process manufacturing where everything is accomplished during the actual manufacturing process. Zero Defects Manufacturing ( it really wasn't Zero Defects since it is too cost prohibitive to do it this way. ) required a great deal of human intervention in  pre-manufacturing quality control steps, the manufacturing cycle and then the post-manufacturing quality control and testing phase. I will give you an example later related to the production of computer tape. While In-processing manufacturing cut out the pre and post manufacturing cycles and had everything done during the actual manufacturing of the products.  A 3 percent defect rate was considered to be a good yield rate  and could cut the cost of making something in half. Zero Defects Manufacturing required alot of production engineering too and was set to  provide a total zero defects yield rate although it usually never happened.

Here is an example of the situation related to computer tape.
When computer tape took over as the main storage media for data processing, the first tapes were about $25 to $30 dollars a reel. This was a tremendous cost with larger data processing departments using the tapes by the thousands.  The first tapes were advertised as zero defects 100 percent error free. However the technology was still evolving and there really was not anywhere a perfect product yet and the price was slowing the use of reel tape as a storage device.
The first tapes were manufactured in common three cycle way with the first be a quality control testing of the materials, the coating and slitting came in the manufacturing cycle  with both processes very crucial. After manufacturing, there was burnishing, cleaning,  testing and certification process which took human intervention.  With the price of tapes needing to be reduced the process was changed. New coatings  were  introduced which added more oxide  in the formula and this was called a hard formula versus a soft one that needed burnishing. However, the hard formula did not cause debri and shedding but it wore out the read/write heads on the tape drive faster.  Some of the manufacturers who used the soft formula stopped the burnishing phase to cut costs but sold the tapes as being easy on the read/write heads. Then most tape manufacturer cut out the post manufacturing cylce completely and went to statistical tesing methods where only batches of tapes were tested and if they failed the test, the whole larger batch was rejected and  put into storage. However, by the end of each month, manager who needed the numbers to look good , let the rejected tape be shipped out to customers.  This change from Zero-defects manufacturing to In-process manufacturing cut the costs  of computertape in half from about $30 to $15 and then the price dropped even lower to about $10 a reel with most vendors coming out with a premium product for about $15 dollars a reel. There were many problems in the field and users had to be well informed about the realities of the  product but few would listen to me as a computer tape salesman.  I  would hover around the large data centers that used a certain major brand that had a soft formula and did not to any  burnishing.  The soft forumla was the best to  use but without burnishing process it shed debri. I watched what data center used most of their tapes in processing and just waited knowing that in six months or so their entire library would be contaminated and would need a total replacement.  I got sever thousand reel orders this way. I did the same with the data center using the cleaner hard formula tapes because I  knew there would be many read/write head problems and they would finally believe me.  These coating problems continued with floppy diskettes later on and then rigid and hard disk storage.

Here is another comparison related to differences in manufacturing. The computer tapes that were used to calibrate the tape drives had to be perfect and only a few tapes made it through a stringent process. The cost of a calibration computer tape was about $125 each and  so you can see the vast cost differences between real Zero Defects Manufacturing and In-process manufacturing. In fact, a calibration tape was not a possible product through In-process manufacturing alone. Yet this type of  manufacturing took over in foreign lands and this is what led me to being a trouble shooter supplyer to industrial accounts for about twenty years in my own business.

Doors  opened to me in various ways. Evidently, I had gained a following related to my media storage know how. A new cat scan manufacturer called me for help. They were about to ship their  first cat scan machines when they  found out they did not have provisions in their operating system to correct disk storage errors. They needed 100 percent error free disk packs.  I did not know if this was possible. The best disk pack in the industry at that time had an average of about sixty correctable errors on its surface. It took a program to correct or bypass these areas in computers and the cat scan machine  were different.  I subsequently found out that this was a general problem throughout the cat scan industry. I found a new rigid disk coater and disk pack manufacturer who was on the cutting edge of a new generation of disk packs and rigid disks. They  already produced a 100 percent error free 8" diskette which I was selling to the first computerized typesetting machines. No one else was capable of producing it. They  told me they could produce a 100 percent error free disk pack for just a small difference in price.

It was a success and I supplied the new cat scan manufacturer and others including GE Medical System with the 100 percent error free product. I did this for five years and then joined the company directly opening their first branch office.  I wrote on error correction codes and advised government accounts about using error free disk storage media proving to them it was not only more reliable but saved expensive computer time.
Prior to joining the new company, I was also involved with some of the first micro computers and also supplied China with calibration tapes and diagnostic devices plus some new disk drive subsystems. I also received orders for some vintage mainframe computers but was unable to get past the red tape. It is difficult to believe that things were so difficult  in selling high technology to China today when people like President Clinton came and gave it to them on a platter.

At the end of the 1980s, everything in the computer region was going badly.  I fought to the end for the last pc computer made in the USA and had others built for  me usings as many parts possible that were still made in the USA.  I had lost most of my  customers due to this including those where I was a trouble shooter supplyer.  The U.S. manufacturers were closing down so fast that I could not keep up with it. The one industrial computer manufacturer who I   thought would find their way through the maze went out of business too. Their production engineers did not know how to deal with all the foreign components that changed their parts constantly. The engineers were from the old school of Zero Defects Manufacturing and field tested a component for about six months and then did destructive testing after that. However, in six months,  the foreign component was entirely different from the first  purchases with no changes in product codes or having any code that revisions had been made. 

Zero Defects Manufacturing may have been more costly and dependent on human intervention but it was a way where many more were employed at middle class wages that supported all the entitlements and other services. It  supported local value added economies that in turn supported all of society in better ways. In-process manufacturing cut out workers and the middle class.  It played a part in force feeding free trade which betrayed the American workers and workers everywhere.  In 1992, IBM and ATT/NCR layed off 250,000 workers. More than a million lost their jobs in the computer industry alone surrounding that time. Most of all my  customer and clients closed down too. About a 1000 computer  businesses similar to  mine closed down in just a tri-state area in my region. Hundreds of computer manufacturers big and small closed down too.  I have a partial lists of these companies at my main site at http://tapsearch.com/tapartnews and will be adding more.

The biggest business mistake I made was trusting the American people would not shop their  way out of their jobs. They held the  key to stopping the surrender of our American way but they did not heed the warnings and shopped their  way out of their jobs and are still doing it to this day  while President Obama bails out the investment communities that caused all the problems. We took tariffs off our products and moved our factories outside the USA and now tariffs have been put on future generations to come with the bail outs and the massive trade deficits that will never be recovered.

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Ray Tapajna work experiences  includes : Raised in family food store, Advertising Art, Artist-  Several years in factory production - Assembly Line Set up Man, Inventory Control, Spot Welder,  Machine Operator and general factory work- U.S. Army Transportation Officer in Ocean Shipping and harborcraft- Cargo Airlines rep -Insurance and Personnel Investigator-  International Air France Rep -passenger and cargo- Rack Jobbing business -Church furniture and renovations - Asst Factory Manager- Computer industry for more than fourty years includes Mainframes, National Communication Networks, Data Entry Systems, Disk Storage expert, Micro Computers, Software, Help jump start Cat Scan and Computerized Typesetting manufacturers and systems, Weather Software and Hardware Systems, PC compters, Calibration and Diagnostic devices = Part of every computer generations and their innovations. National Accounts Manager /  Started several Branch and Regional Offices for major Computer Manufacturers.  Sold directly to China and Canadian accounts and in own business for more than 25 years as trouble shooter supplier to major manufacturers.  College background - Art, Diplomatic History, Geopolitics, Philosophy - Attended several Corporate Computer Schools and Seminars.

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