System is not work, but is simply a law of action for reducing work. It does not require special executors, but permits few to accomplish much. It loads no man with labor, but lightens the labor of each by rigidly defining it. Hard work begins when system relaxes. System never, under any circumstances, interferes with variations in human action, but includes them. Elasticity is not a quality of system. Comprehensiveness is.
System is the result of two rigid laws: a place for everything and everything in its place, and specific lines of duty for every man… .
In many shops half the things are everybody’s business and never done; the others are nobody’s business and half done.
— James W. See, “Extracts from Chordal’s Letters” (American Machinist, 1880)