Did you know that workshop travellers used by suppliers in hi-tech sectors (aviation and aerospace) require retention by them for up to 25-30 years?
A traveller is a physical document used to track a specific batch of parts through its required production flow. This involves tasks completed, and the next steps for this production flow, and important details for each task:
- Operator’s name and machine information.
- Shift number and date completed.
- Number of parts passed and failed.
- Work instructions and additional remarks.
- Physical dimensions (samples).
These documents may include the order information (customer details), standard times (average time) for each task, and additional remarks (client’s specifications).
An electronic or intelligent traveller is an electronic version of this document, which is generally accessed using apps for laptops, PCs, tablets, etc. to edit/store information, and to collect data for analysis.
Scientific Management (A): The Taylor Studies (Time and Motion Studies)
Frederick Winslow Taylor (March 20, 1856 – March 21, 1915) is also titled the “Father of Scientific Management”, for his contributions to the manufacturing sector on production processes and efficiencies, worker productivity, and metal cutting techniques. He is also known for his book “The Principles of Scientific Management” published in 1909, and for his productivity experiments “Time and Motion Studies”.
The concepts described in his book “The Principles of Scientific Management” are widely used today in manufacturing industries, modern militaries, and professional sports. These principles are also known as “Scientific Management” and “Taylorism”:
- Use a scientific standard (repeatable and replicable) for task completion and quality assessment (analytical basis), not a “rule of thumb”, or simple habit and common sense.
- Operator work assignments should be based on their aptitudes (capabilities and motivation), rather than a random assignment of tasks. Each worker should be provided on-job training to reach his/her peak performance.
- Monitor worker performance. Provide clear and simple work instructions, and supervision to ensure they (operators) are working productively.
- Smart Manufacturing technologies like IoTs and electronic travellers can collect data from machines to perform preventive maintenance (instead of breakdown maintenance). This can help maintenance teams order replacement parts in advance and minimise machine down time. These advances would increase operational efficiency, help managers prepare accurate production plans (scheduling), and mitigate unforeseen shutdowns on shopfloors.
- Intelligent travellers can help managers gather real-time data on quality and operations, worker, and machine productivity, and to expedite process instruction revisions (electronically). Adoption of paperless travellers also ensures effective use of emerging technologies such as Industry 4.0, Cloud Computing, IIoTs, Data Analytics, Smart Factories, Robotics, AI and ML, CAD systems, and Digital Twins.
- The industry leaders in Smart Manufacturing are Automotive with a market share of 23% (2020), followed by Aerospace and Defence. These industries employ a lot of labour and have many interactions between firms for components and sub-assemblies (client firms and tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3 suppliers). A small savings of production time in one part of these industries can have a compounding effect in reducing overall production costs (through intelligent replication).
- Cybersecurity Threats—Today’s interconnected systems are heavily reliant on IoTs for communication between machines, which unfortunately have weak encryption systems. To have a robust digital factory (resistant to cyberthreats), additional security layers are necessary, which require higher budget allocations for cybersecurity investments.
- Employee Resistance—Introduction of digital travellers would make the machine operators more accountable. The number of parts passed at each operation (and time for each task) are recorded automatically (real-time). Most changes would require supervisor intervention. Additional fears due to automated data collection could be related to employee privacy and appraisals (increments, bonuses). These issues can be resolved through regular departmental meetings (address fears) and to offer multiple training sessions (digital travellers).