Ever since Ransom Olds introduced the automotive assembly line in 1901, and Henry Ford the moving conveyor in 1913 we’ve pretty much been building cars the same way: cramming processes into fixed workstations. The fixed workstation is a very simple concept. Step 1: define the takt-time based on planned production volume, typically around 60 seconds for high volume. Step 2: set the line speed and workstation size to create 60s workstations. Step 3: divide
The barcode was first imagined in 1948 by Joseph Woodland, inspired by the dots and dashes of Morse code. Woodland was responding to a challenge set by a local retailer in Philadelphia, looking to find ways to speed up the process of checking-out in stores. By the 1960’s, an engineer, David Collins revived this idea and, combined with the availability of lasers, was putting thick and thin striped lines on railway cars so they
Have you ever wondered where all these contact-tracing and social-distancing solutions came from? It’s not like they were developed and ready to roll out – the use of technology to support back-to-work strategies is unprecedented in history. Unprecedented and unpredicted: up until March we’d barely thought about shutting down; up until April we’d never considered what it would mean to open back up, and here we are in May with a veritable smorgasbord of
As manufacturing facilities re-start around the world, it’s clear several efficient operating practices that are almost universally adopted will be somewhat reversed, certainly in the short-term, possibly longer. Take ‘just-in-time’ or lean manufacturing for example; made famous by Toyota and popular since the 70’s, manufacturers will need to rethink their supply chains to reduce exposure to potentially disruptive events. As an opinion piece in the FT succinctly put it this weekend; more ‘just-in-case’ than
I wonder if you’ve thought about why we are being advised to stay two meters (or six feet) away from other people to avoid Coronavirus transmission? That number used to be half the distance by the way, only changing fairly recently. To understand it, we have to go back to post-World War II England, and to a hospital not terribly far south of Stonehenge. Harvard Hospital was for decades the center
I’m pretty certain when Sting penned those lyrics back in 1980 he wasn’t imagining a manufacturing plant in 2020. Yet, here we are needing to rethink the way we work to ensure adequate social distancing to keep operating safely. Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) that track the interaction of people certainly has a role to play. With a long history of successfully tracking the location and movement of things, we take this stuff pretty seriously.