in January 1979 Issue of Modern Casting)
started it with, "A job expands to fill the time allotted to it."
His first book,
Parkinson's Law was so popular it was soon followed by
Since then it seems
that almost everyone has been coming out with "laws" that on first
reading are very humorous but with more thought have a much deeper meaning.
I thought the
foundry industry had its own lawmaker in Murphy.
His law, "if anything can go wrong - it will," sounds so much
like some of the foundry situations I've seen, it never occurred to me that
Murphy could be anything but a foundryman.
my brother-in-law, an electronics engineer, swears that Murphy must have worked
in the electronics industry.
Since we don't
know which Murphy wrote it, we can't prove the law belongs to us.
The Foundry Industry is big enough that it deserves its very own law.
I started thinking about an American Foundryman's Society Law but
realized it was too long a name for a humorous law.
An AFS law would have been a short enough name but in order to use that
title it would most likely require action by the board of directors is not a
ballad of the entire membership.
would be a bit much for something like this.
Then it came to me - Lobenhofer's law.
With the number of Lobenhofers around, no other industry could claim it,
and besides, I think it has a nice ring.
I don't know if
the other laws were developed this way or not, but I now had the name, but I
needed the law to go with it.
I dreamt up a number of laws but none of them were quite appropriate.
Then one day, when I was trying to think up a way to convince a class of
CMI students of the need for developing procedures for every possible situation,
it came to me.
became, "ANY EMERGENCIES SUFFICIENTLY WELL PLANNED FOR - WILL NOT
Of course, I had
to test a new law to see if it really was any good.
I went around headquarters proclaiming the new law in the feedback was
I got chuckles and
smiles from everyone.
In many cases
I received antidotes that proves my theory.
For example, Art
Wagner told me of the case when he was an industrial engineer at a foundry, and
realized how vulnerable the entire operation was to a breakdown of the big
cupola blower motor.
management of the need for having a spare.
purchased, every time the president toured the plant with Art, they would come
to the spare motor and the president would ask if they had to use it yet.
Art would say no and then the president would ask how much the spare
Art would tell him and the
president would walk away shaking his head.
This went on for over six years.
personal story proving the law involves a labor problem at a foundry I worked
Management heard a rumor that
there was going to be a wildcat strike.
the walkout was going to take place when there was plenty of molten iron around.
If this were going to be the case, management had to be ready to act
Supervisor meetings were
called and each member of management was given explicit details of what they
were to do in order to get the iron poured off.
For some of us the assignments required us to run equipment we hadn't run in
years - if ever.
That meant we had
to come in on third shift to practice using the equipment.
Naturally, the strike never happened.
A quick look at
the situation makes the planning that was done look foolish.
That's the humorous side.
the other side, planning really prevents emergencies and it does so in three
Luck does seem to
play a factor.
I cannot credit Art's
blower motor lasting beyond its expected life to any attribute of planning other
On the other hand,
emergencies caused by lack of planning should not be attributed to bad luck.
If the blower had broken down causing an extended work stoppage, it would
not have been luck; it would have been poor planning.
itself can prevent emergencies.
example, in my story of the potential wildcat, if the management was aware of
the union's plans, then it stands to reason that the union knew the managements'
Knowing the wildcat
would not throw the management into a panic must have taken away much of the
expected benefits for the union.
planning, indeed, prevented the emergency.
The most important
factor is the planning changes emergencies into incidents.
If a cupola can't be tapped by poking, it's not an emergency unless prior
planning did not include having oxygen and lances readily available.
If Art's blower broke down it wouldn't have been an emergency as long as
the spare was ready to go.
union had walked out it would have been a pain-in-the-neck but not an emergency
since we were prepared.
In each case
a potential emergency would have been a minor incident because of sufficient
A word of warning
about Lobenhofer's Law: Don't think about it when you are in the middle of an
Knowing you could have
prevented the emergency through proper planning is bad for the ego.
about it when you get out of trouble.
how you're going to handle things so you won't have to face that emergency
Even better, when things are
running smoothly pick an emergency you fear in your operation and plan how it
can be handled.
You know if you plan
well enough you'll never have to face the emergency.
- ANY EMERGENCIES SUFFICIENTLY WELL PLANNED FOR - WILL NOT HAPPEN.
It's your law, foundrymen, use it for your benefit.
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