Modern Machine Shop

FEB 2018

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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Page 27 of 147

COMPETING IDEAS MMS FEBRUARY 2018 26 Manufacturing Management Thank You, Camera Phone There have been so many great technological advances already during this century that it is hard to keep track of them all. For sure, we live in a time in which these advances seem to come about at an increasingly rapid rate, making it hard for the average person to predict what's next. One technological advance that most of us already have in the palm of our hands is the camera phone. Although camera phones have been around for quite a few years, recent advances have made their image quality and editing capabilities even more useful. Many of us even have ditched our traditional high-end cameras in favor of the convenience and com- pactness of the cameras built into our phones. What's more, we are finding more and more uses for these camera phones, especially in business. In my case, they have almost completely replaced the need for pen and paper. There are obvious uses for camera phones in business today, including: • recording of kaizen events (workplace orga- nization, process improvement), capturing "before" and "after" conditions; • documenting receipt of damaged products; • verifying the condition of products being shipped to customers or installers; • recording daily progress on construction/ renovation projects; and • documenting unsafe workplace conditions that require immediate attention. Yet companies are coming up with still other clever applications for camera phones. Here are just a few I have come across lately: Time Recording on Jobs One manufacturer required employees to log into jobs when they started and log off when they stopped. Although mistakes were being made within the job process, the real problem was that employees were not logging in or off at all. Upon investigation, the shop found that, despite a number of hands-on training sessions (and a "help" function at the machine), most employees did not understand how the process was supposed to work. It required going to a computer station and accessing a number of different screens. As a solution, management decided to create a visual instruction sheet that could be posted at each computer. A sequential series of photos was taken of each screen using a camera phone. Notes were added to the photos to provide fur- ther clarity when deemed necessary. The overall process was not that complex, and just a few photos covered more than 95 percent of what the employees needed to do. Soon after the instruc- tion sheets were posted, every employee was logging in and logging off jobs accurately and in a timely manner. Timely Communication of Materials Received A fabric manufacturer had a very busy receiving department, charged with unloading material from delivery trailers each day. On occasion, sample materials would be ordered by technical staff. These samples (critically important to the person ordering them) were often loaded onto the same truck as other material, but required different handling. It was expected that receiv- ing department employees would "drop every- thing" and call the person who ordered the sam- ples when they arrived. However, in the daily whirlwind of unloading, calls sometimes were not made or went unanswered, and as a result, samples could sit in the receiving department for hours or even days. To avoid this problem, the shop introduced a new procedure for handling samples in which receiving department employees would use a camera phone to take a photo of the packing list WAYNE S. CHANESKI | COLUMNIST Improvements in this technology have made these devices increasingly useful in the workplace.

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