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30 Bikes Per Day?
#1
Management has told me I'm not building bikes fast enough. I have only hand tools to work with except for one power drill. Please recommend tools (including power tools when necessary), techniques and table configurations conducive to building 30 bikes per day. If I fail to reach this goal by the end of the month there's a vague 'or else' attached.

I can current build a 12" or 16" bike in about 45 minutes. Adult bikes take longer due mostly to the brakes.
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#2
What does "building" a bike involve? Are you assembling them completely, or just attaching the wheels and pedals?

Assuming you work an 8 hour day, 30 bikes is one every 16 minutes with no breaks or visits to the bathroom. I have to say, that's going some!
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#3
Quote:Originally posted by xerxes
What does "building" a bike involve? Are you assembling them completely, or just attaching the wheels and pedals?
I attach the front wheel, brake levers, seat, handlebar, pedals and accessories such as tassels and training wheels when applicable. I also calibrate the brakes.

Quote:Originally posted by xerxes
Assuming you work an 8 hour day, 30 bikes is one every 16 minutes with no breaks or visits to the bathroom. I have to say, that's going some!
I'm not supposed to forgo my breaks or lunches. Having said that, I agree; it does sound fast to me. I suspect I'll need a few power tools to reach that level of productivity.
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#4
To be honest, I don't think power tools will be much help.

You might find that a set of "T" handle spanners/wrenches speed things up a bit, they allow you spin nuts and bolts on and off quickly, however they obviously can't fit in some tight spaces.

I still think 16 minutes isn't much time to put something together, especially if you're having to mess about adjusting brakes etc.

T handle hex wrenches/allen keys:

[Image: wihalj.jpg]

T handle socket spanners/wrenches:

[Image: 08-0340.jpg]
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#5
I assume you are prepping bikes ready for retail sale. I have done this for years but on an ad-hoc basis, and not with any time constraints.

A lot will depend on the quality of the product, cheap and nasty take far longer than good ones, some makes are almost impossible to get into a safe usable condition, especially the brakes, imo.

I can only think of one power tool which might be useful, one to run up the wheel nuts, but I doubt this would gain you much as you would have to swap to a spanner to finish, and tee spanners as earlier can be spun in hand quickly.

I estimate a childs bike takes about 20 min and a fully geared adult bike about 30 if no problems require sorting, but I think I could have got a few minutes off this under production conditions.

You need to look at your workplace layout, do you have enough room, are your tools to hand, do you also have to collect the bike from the stores and de-box ( the quickest way to do this, I found, was to cut the side of the box off, enabling the contents to be lifted out and avoiding scratches to self from the staples in the box), can you deal with a quantity at once, rather than one at a time?

Did your employer give you any training?
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#6
If you're having to fiddle about with brakes a lot, a cable stretcher/4th hand tool is really useful.

[Image: ?f=BPUserPhotos&filename=566431_1.jpg]

I struggled along without one for years and I would never want to go back to setting up cable brakes without one.

Totally agree with Trev about cheap bikes. My own bikes are all good quality, but I have on occasions fixed bikes for friends, some of them cheap, supermarket BSOs (Bicycle Shaped Objects: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_Shaped_Object) and these are invariably much more difficult fix. I've only worked on a handful, but they usually have very poor quality nuts, bolts and screws, so that the tools don't fit properly. Added to that, the poor quality metals and poor finishes are much more prone to corrosion, so that nuts, bolts, steel components and barrel adjusters etc. practically corrode into a solid lump and then there's the cheap brake and gear cables that rot and frey.

OK, so you're not going to have issues with corrosion, but I don't envy you having to work on some of the cheaper stuff, even without the corrosion that 6 months of British weather will cause to poor quality steel, I imagine it's not a lot of fun.
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#7
I've got all kinds of quality tools new and used for sale online, BUT . . . it doesn't sound to me like a good idea to invest in tools with that "or else" hanging over your head.

Do you think he is SELLING 30 bikes per day?

Based on Xerxes calculation of 16 minutes per bike and your current time of 45 minutes, it sounds to me like it might be futile. You manager might actually be looking for an excuse to let you go because he isn't making enough money during a difficult economy . . . BUT is being a jerk by making you think it is YOUR fault. I hate people like that!

My best advice is just try and do your best without making any leaps of spending money on tools that he should really be providing you to do your job. Like I said, I think he is making you the scapegoat for his own troubles.

Steve
Junkyard Tools rescued from the junkyard!
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#8
Quote:Originally posted by KC-Steve
I've got all kinds of quality tools new and used for sale online, BUT . . . it doesn't sound to me like a good idea to invest in tools with that "or else" hanging over your head.
Even if I could afford to invest in the power tools I would probably need to work that quickly, I'm expressly forbidden from buying my own tools and bringing them to work with me. Management has to buy them.

Quote:Originally posted by KC-Steve
Based on Xerxes calculation of 16 minutes per bike and your current time of 45 minutes, it sounds to me like it might be futile. You manager might actually be looking for an excuse to let you go because he isn't making enough money during a difficult economy . . . BUT is being a jerk by making you think it is YOUR fault. I hate people like that!
The manager in question already "offered" me a transfer to cashier, with the implied threat that I would be fired for not working fast enough as an assembler if I didn't accept it. I cashiered at another Wal-Mart before I moved here to Minnesota. There's an outside contractor this manager brings in over the objection of the district manager, on the argument that this store can't find a qualified assembler to do the job in-house.

Quote:Originally posted by KC-Steve
Like I said, I think he is making you the scapegoat for his own troubles.

She's never assembled a bicycle herself as far as I know. She bases her thirty-bike figure on an average of the performance of assemblers over about a twenty-year period. The problem with that is that nearly the entire period is made up of one guy who secretly brought his own tools.

I'm no longer an assembler.
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#9
(06-06-2012, 01:02 AM)hvacstudent Wrote:  I'm no longer an assembler.

I'm sorry to hear that and hope you find a better job soon and hopefully one with more reasonable management, or perhaps one where you are the manager.

Best of luck.
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#10
"I'm no longer an assembler."

Yay! Good for you! You shouldn't be an assembler, at least not at Wal Mart and its ilk.
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#11
Quote:Originally posted by Tim M
Yay!
I want to do something challenging. I'm already proficient in the two skills of cashiers: scanning items and being as bland and politically correct as possible.
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#12
(06-06-2012, 01:02 AM)hvacstudent Wrote:  . . . She's never assembled a bicycle herself as far as I know. She bases her thirty-bike figure on an average of the performance of assemblers over about a twenty-year period. The problem with that is that nearly the entire period is made up of one guy who secretly brought his own tools.

I'm no longer an assembler.

In my opinion, women are the WORST managers, especially when they have never gotten their hands dirty, so to speak. Someday you'll look back and thank God you didn't work for her long. Smile

Steve
Junkyard Tools rescued from the junkyard!
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#13
Man what a beach, 30 bikes a day sure, If all you need is to put on the wheels and align the handlebars. What about lunch. Only so much room on the floor you'd be working yourself into a part time job.
Never Give Up!!!
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#14
I'm back to cashiering; an elderly gentleman hired to replace me told me she wants thirty-five bikes per day from him.
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#15
Hey I worked as a cashier in HS and some in college, before scanners and registers that told you how much change to give. Enjoy not having to deal with that idiot.
Never Give Up!!!
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#16
assuming he gets a lunch and works 7.5 hours thats about 12 min. a bike. But I am not a whiz @ math. Am I correct to assume that this is a pissed off Chinese lady that worked at an American owned factory in China as a kid? Mercy, what a Troll!
Talk about a Dateline Exclusive Smile
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
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#17
(08-02-2012, 12:48 AM)painkiller Wrote:  Am I correct to assume that this is a pissed off Chinese lady that worked at an American owned factory in China as a kid?
No, she's not Chinese. But I don't think her expectations jive with the facts.
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#18
I feel for you hvac. I recently started working as an assembler in the north-east, and thankfully I have not run into any quota mention from any of my managers. It seems to be so long as I keep the bike rack with just a few holes here and there, they don't say anything to me about it. However I think that we would be unable to even sell 30 bikes a day except for on big retail days. Generally when I come into work, I see anywhere from 5-10 bikes having sold. So I end up making anywhere from 5-10 bikes a day, but generally it is more on the side of 5 bikes a day average, and this keeps the bike rack stocked enough that the only holes are there simply because we don't have that type of bike in stock.

I had actually seen your first thread on this forum, mentioning about the training, and I will say that what you went through is pretty accurate. For me it helped that my father is heavily into bikes, so when I lived with him, I gained bicycle knowledge from him, so a lot of it has come back to me in the month that I've worked as an assembler. So I never actually read the manuals of these bikes.

Since the store I am in knows that their bike sales are in that range, they use the assembler position really as a "whatever needs to get done". For those that don't know, Walmart has a system where managers program through computers the tasks for those that work in the store, their coverage areas, what they need to do for the day, etc. However as assembler you never have any tasks. Not even "Build bikes", this is so that they can at any point take you off to do something else, without there being a conflict.

Even though I build roughly 5 bikes a day, it takes all day to do it. Not because I am slow, but because I build a bike, then get taken to put on something else, finish it, build half a bike, something else, finish that, build another, then pulled to do something else. This is not even counting assembling power wheels, grills, furniture, and whatever random things need fixing. Thankfully though, with the slow sales of bikes at my Walmart, I am allowed to really put the effort in to the bikes to make them, well, as safe as is possible.

The thing that mostly gets to me about this position, at least so far. Is that the area used for assembly is being over-run by non-assembly related merchandise. Clothes, housewares, electronics, displays, whatever needs storing when they don't have the space to store it elsewhere. This makes the area cramped instead of open. The other thing is the customers themselves. They are not so bad to deal with when they are looking to buy a bike. However, the thing that amazes me is that about 20% of the people who I directly interact with when they are buying a bike, end up returning it with something stupid. I do not know what people expect for the price of the bikes at Walmart, really, you buy one at Walmart, you should be aware that they are not going to be the greatest things! You can actually make a cheap bike from Walmart last quite a while, but it pretty much requires that you don't do stupid things with it. I cannot count how many times in a month that the customer service desk has accepted bikes and sent them to me that have all of the following: 1. No receipt. 2. Dirty. 3. Pedals and crank damage, being reported as the reason why they are returning the bike. 4. Obvious signs that the bike has been ridden hard, such as a teenager using it for jumps, tricks, etc. I am amazed that the service desk accepts these bikes, I am not sure why they do not decline the request of these "customers"!

I see a bike as a personal responsibility item. If you do not take care of it, a $1200 bike will fall apart if you do stupid stuff with it. Same for a $100 "bike". So why be so surprised when you break something that costs $100 from doing stupid ****? I think that the reason they accept these back is because they would rather just accept them back than deal with any possible "Walmart bike injuries", even though mis-use of the product should not be at fault of the manufacturer/assembler/retailer.

hvac I think that you got shafted in your experience as an assembler at your local Walmart. Was there actually 30 bikes a day going out the door? Was the bike rack barren? I mean, managers have asked me "how is the bike rack looking" I'll give them the "looking okay, need to fill a few more holes" and they will generally leave me alone the rest of the day to make bikes, but the most I have ever put together in a day was about 15, and that was all-day making bikes without interruptions. And yet, the bike rack is still full. I have spoken with a number of previous assemblers who moved to other areas in my Walmart, and it seems that management now has the attitude with me of "Okay, let's not piss off another assembler, if they keep the rack stocked, and we can get them to do some other stuff here and there, we'll keep this one." And personally, if they don't piss me off or pull quota bullshit with me while pulling me off to do random-jobs, I'll be happy in the position. And hopefully I'll make my goal of actually putting out "decent" Walmart bikes. I know they are terrible, but I want people to get what they pay for at least, but they don't pay much, so there is only so much I can do to make sure the bikes are any good, when the materials are what they are.
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#19
30 properly/safely assembled bikes a day is not possible, period. Unpacking and disposal of packing materials alone takes 5 minutes. But 45 minutes for a kids bike is also inappropriate. The only accurate way to assess assembly productivity is to measure the total time required from the start of one bike to the start of the next, including retrieval, unpacking, disposal of box and packing and required paperwork. I had a contract with Sears to assemble bikes and my employee typically could do a full assembly of a 12 speed bike (long time ago) at an average cycle of about 25 minutes, even though we properly sized and lubed cable housings (generally unheard of at dept. store level, but kept the returns way down). A kids bike should take 1/2 that time. Sorry to be blunt, but you need a different job, not different tools - and a more realistic supervisor, less interested in quotas than in quality, safety and morale.
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#20
Building 30 bikes per day it's a tough job. However, did you finally managed to build 30 bikes per day?
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