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The History Of Industrial Engineering
The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology defines industrial engineering as: the profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences acquired by study, experience and practice is applied judiciously to develop ways to use materials economically, and the forces of nature for the benefit of humanity which is concerned with the design, improvement and installation of integrated systems of people, materials, equipment and energy. It draws on specialist knowledge and skills in the mathematical, physical and social sciences together with the principles and methods of engineering analysis and design to specify, predict and evaluate the results to be obtained from those systems.
The origins of industrial engineering can be traced to many different sources. Fredrick Winslow Taylor is often considered the father of industrial engineering even though all of his ideas were not original. Some of the earlier influences may have been Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill. All of their works have provided classical liberal explanations for the successes and limitations of the industrial revolution.
Another major contributor to the field was Charles W. Babbage. a math teacher. One of his major contributions to the field has been his book On the economy of machines and producers in 1832. In this book he discusses many different topics related to manufacturing, some of which will be extremely familiar to an IE. Babbage discusses the idea of the learning curve, the division of labor and how learning is affected and the effect of learning on waste generation.
In the late nineteenth century further developments were made which would lead to the formalization of industrial engineering. Henry R. Towne emphasized the economics of an engineer’s job. Towne was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) as were many other early American pioneers in this new field. The IE Handbook states that “ASME was the breeding ground for industrial engineering. Towne along with Fredrick A. Halsey worked on developing and submitting wage incentive plans to ASME. It was from these meetings that Halsey’s plan for paying wages is developed. The aim was to increase worker productivity without adversely affecting production costs. The plan suggested sharing some of the earnings with employees.. This is an early example of a profit sharing plan.
Henry L. Gantt belonged to the ASME and filed papers with the ASME on topics such as cost, worker selection, training, good incentive plans, and job scheduling. He is the creator of the Gantt chart, currently the most popular chart used in work planning.
What would industrial engineering be without mentioning Fredrick Winslow Taylor. Taylor is probably the best known of the pioneers of industrial engineering. His work, like others, covered such topics as management organization of work, selection of workers, training and additional remuneration for those people who could meet the standard developed by the company through his methods .
The Gilbreths are credited with developing time and motion studies. Frank Bunker Gilbreth and his wife, Dr. Lillian M. Gilbreth, have worked on understanding fatigue, skill development, movement studies, and tempo. Lillian Gilbreth had a PhD. in psychology that she has helped to understand the problems of many people. One of the most significant things the Gilbreths did was classify basic human movements into seventeen types, some effective and some ineffective. They labeled the classification table therbligs. Effective therbligs are helpful in getting the job done while ineffective therbligs are not. Gilbreth concluded that the time to complete an effective therblig can be shortened but will be very difficult to clear. On the other hand ineffective therbligs should be completely eliminated if possible.
In 1948, the American Institute for Industrial Engineers (AIIE) first opened, which began to give professional authenticity to practicing engineers. Until that time, industrial engineers didn’t really have a specific place in a company’s hierarchy. ASME was the only other society that required its members to have an engineering degree prior to the development of the AIIE.
What is the future for industrial engineers? With analytical methods and advanced information technologies, modeling complex systems of production and services will increasingly become a daily activity.
Performing a motion study. Each job can be decomposed into its core job elements. The Gilbreth family has found that there are seventeen such movements. The time to complete each movement does not change. The works can be studied visually or with the assistance of a camera for micro-movement studies.
The environment for workers must also be created to promote work efficiency. Tools should be placed in fixed positions to eliminate search and selection problems. Work surfaces and chairs should be adjusted to the correct working height to relieve stress. Whenever possible, gravity feeders should be used to deliver parts to the correct location. Worker’s tools should be designed to eliminate multiple cuts. Adjustment handles should be designed to maximize the mechanical advantage of the operator.
Running a time study. Without a standard, the company will have difficulty estimating the delivery time of its products. Very big times where the employee doesn’t know what the company’s expectations are. To correct this, the IE will develop a fair standard expectation for each operation. It has been estimated that 12% of a company’s total cost comes from direct labour. Another 43% of the cost comes from the cost of the material. The other 45% is spent on overheads. So the idea that the biggest productivity gains can be felt on the floor doesn’t hold up in this light. A good weather study will take into account the inevitable delays, fatigue and, to some extent, outside interference. Time for unnecessary steps, such as finding tools, will not be included in the final standard. The expectation is that the workplace is designed to accommodate work and be free of this type of waste.
Set up times Setup time is the amount of time it takes to start producing different parts on a machine. If set-up times remain ample, the company will operate with high levels of work in progress and finished products, tying up valuable company capital. Companies that fail to reduce installation time have a tendency to appear lazy to their customers.
Cost An IE will generally be responsible for producing a cost analysis on the equipment purchase. There are several ways to achieve this. Life how long the machine should last during cost analysis development.
Efficiency The traditional way of looking at efficiency was to keep the machine running at 100%. The idea was that the cost of the machine could be spread over the time it was in operation. The higher the efficiency of the machines, the higher the execution time / available time, the better the accounting numbers against the cost of the machine.
Material IE takes care of the delivery and flow of material throughout the plant, often the plant has evolved with the business.
Lot size To allow the manufacturer to remain flexible, production batch sizes should be kept to a minimum. This will only be cheap after the reduction in machine trims has been achieved.
Inventory levels Since inventory is capital that cannot be converted until it is finished and purchased by a consumer, it should be kept to a minimum. Inventory not only constrains capital, but if the customer requests a change, the inventory runs the risk of becoming obsolete.
Quality The quality of the material can affect all parts of the system. Poor quality material often introduces excessive amounts of rework into each of the processes. A typical job for an IE would be to work with the quality department to set up a QMS quality management system.
Maintenance The amount of maintenance the machine will require is a variable that needs to be considered. Another issue related to maintenance is whether or not the staff on hand will need to be retrained.
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