The Blozis Company was a manufacturer of highly technical equipment. The $16 million gross
sales of the company consisted primarily of units designed to customer specifications by the
engineering department and produced on a job-shop basis by the production department. The
engineering department also designed highly complex control equipment of general industrial
application to be sold by the Blozis Company on an off-the-shelf basis.
The supply department consisted of the supply manager, a buyer, and two clerks who
handled typing and filing. Although many of the items purchased were of a highly technical
nature, the supply manager had no technical training. Through the years, he had picked up a fair
grasp of the engineering terminology used in the field, but had made no attempt to keep up with
the specialized design problems of the company. The buyer was a woman who was known in the
trade as “hard-boiled but big-hearted” and was generally considered a competent general supplies
buyer. Without great ingenuity, the buyer also successfully handled technical items if detailed
specifications were supplied by engineering or production.
An expediter was attached to production. He formerly had been one of the technicians in
the production shop and had picked up some technical training in the Army. Because he could
understand verbal descriptions of items needed by engineering and production, these groups often
contacted him on ordering problems before submitting a requisition to supply. He frequently
would suggest substitute components that could be drawn immediately from the stock room; or he
would convert the oral description into a commercial specification, type a requisition, and submit
it to the supply department. The expediter had two primary responsibilities: to pick up rush orders
and to supervise the stock room. He spent about 50 percent of each day picking up items at
nearby suppliers, at truck terminals, or airports, or...