Apr 30 2020
The Impact Of Social Distancing On Assembly Operations | John Shook | LEI
“Problems and Countermeasures at GE Appliances and Herman Miller:
- Problem 1: Clarify what is the problem to solve
- Problem 2: Ensure each member is coming to work healthy
- Problem 3: Make assembly line work safe for social distancing
- Problem 4: Maintain social distance for Team Leader Andon response
- Problem 5: Apply social distancing to other, non-assembly line, work areas
- Problem 6: Resolve the many other safety concerns that are cropping up
- Cleaning surfaces
- Cleaning air – Ventilation
Michel Baudin‘s comments: John Shook’s writings are usually more polished. This one feels like notes from conversations with managers from GE Appliances (GEA) and Herman-Miller (HM). It goes straight into the heart of the matter with no lead or introduction and with acronyms that are not defined but easy to decypher, like “TT” for Takt Time. This tone actually infuses the article with a sense of urgency. It reads like an unvarnished look at what is actually happening and it contains many informative photographs of the shop floors.
For each problem, GEA and HM give pointers on making assembly work safe from COVID-19 but I have a few questions the article does not address:
- How do you protect assembly workers from infection through the products? Social distancing protects them from each other’s breaths but an infected worker’s hand can contaminate a workpiece. The workpiece can then, in turn, infect the next worker’s hand. The article does not discuss means of disinfecting workpieces between stations.
- What does distancing do to assembly operations? For decades, we have been bringing workstations closer together, to make it easier for operators to help each other and run multiple stations when the volume is lower. Now, we have to go in the opposite direction.
#socialdistancing, #assembly, #leanmanufacturing, #covid19
April 30, 2020 @ 10:42 am
Already manufacturers are looking to robots taking over the person to person transfers. Why accept the problem of social distancing between humans if you can take out some humans from the system? Anyway we know that CEOs of US companies are ruthless. Why else would they force meat packing plants to be open when they are infected with COVID-19 and employees are scared to be forced back in? Deep cleaning can at best be done between shifts.