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58 The PCB Magazine • August 2017 In today's work environment, a company should strive to produce quality product, maximize margins and reduce cost as much as possi- ble. At times, this can be very dif- ficult. Work ethics and methodolo- gies of "how to do things" have de- veloped over many years and can be deeply rooted in many manu- facturing theatres. We find at times the "way we have always done it" may not be the most practical way today. This is apparent with the ad- vances in automation, labor force reduction and shifting market de- mands. Of course, automation has a role in the manufacturing world today as it has taken the task of repetitive processes that are tedious and not best suited for intelligent human interface. However, when evaluat- ing tasks our operators and techni- cians perform, there is a question we should ask ourselves as manag- ers. "Are they working hard?" In most cases we can answer "yes." However, the other real question to ask is, "Are they working smart?" "Work Smarter, Not Harder!" This does not mean simply read the work instructions and perform the task as written. It's much more than that. Sure, the work instruc- tions outline the task to be per- formed correctly but how about efficiently? Many times, work in- structions are written by process engineers and released to operators based on the engineer's knowledge of how the machine operates and how to go about making the ma- chine produce acceptable results. That is all fine and good, but some- times the process can be overwrit- ten and have many extra steps that may not actually be required or can be combined to make the process more efficient. We should not try to write an operator into a corner when designing effective work in- structions or processes. This also can cause issues during a process audit where operators have figured out more efficient means of car- rying out the process but it is not documented. With that in mind, let's ele- vate this a bit and look at efficien- cy from a higher altitude. When we talk about steps in the context of this column we are talking about steps in a process and steps in movement. For example: Step 1— Turn on machine; Step 2—Walk (step) to cart A and retrieve prod- uct. When an operator is at his ma- chine or equipment, he is follow- ing steps to complete a task and most likely reset and repeat. Step 1, turning on machine, is solid. Not much we can change there. How- ever, Step 2, walk and retrieve prod- uct, does deserve a second look. What I'm getting at here is this: Are we sure the operator is working smart or is he working hard? We all No Missed Steps: 5S Methodology for a Smarter Workplace FEATURE COLUMN: TESTING TODD by Todd Kolmodin GARDIEN SERVICES USA

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