The draughtsman and his work form an essential link in the chain of any
engineering organization. He not only indicates the finished article desired,
but largely the routine and progress of the work, and his drawing is, in
effect, a series of directions as to how the work is to b6 done. When the
drawings or order sheets leave his hands, the method of distribution is so
arranged that they shall go to the various shops and yards in a certain definite
order and time, so that there shall be no hitch, neither forgetfulness nor
overlapping, and if possible some system of checks is introduced, so that,
where forgetfulness may on occasion take place, the omission can, be made
good with the minimum loss of time and cost.
There is a tendency on the part of some to regard drawing-office
work, and, in a lesser degree, pattern-shop work, as unproductive labour.
This argument, if true, would require to be logically extended until we
came to the fact that, as all machinery was only a means to an end,
the making of machines themselves was unproductive. But employers
would be very unwise if such crude materialism were allowed to interfere
with good and even elaborate staff work, as it is in the initial stages of
design that the largest ultimate economies can be effected. The best
firms realize this, and neither stint staff nor equipment, and make large
allowances for experiment, research, design, and administration.
It is necessary, therefore, to consider very carefully the detailed organiza-
tion of the drawing office, and the routine to be observed from the time the
work enters as an estimate or a contract until its final dispatch, for the work
of the drawing office is not completed with the issue of the drawings to the
shops. An endeavour will be made in the following pages to portray a
form of up-to-date organization which, if carried out and possibly extended
to suit particular circumstances, will enable a firm to compete successfully
against less efficiently organized rivals.