Monthly Archives: December 2016

What does the change to driving while using mobile phone penalties in the UK tell us about solution design?

So imagine you are driving at 50 miles an hour and you start to text and a child runs out in front of the car.

Are you going to be prepared to stop or avoid the child?

You are driving on a motorway, you check twitter and the car in front of you veers into the arm-cove?

What can you do? How fast can you react?

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Inbox Chaos – A Better Way to Cope

We all know the symptom’s – an email inbox full to capacity and 100’s if not 1000’s of new emails arriving everyday. The trouble is most of these emails may actually be important if not vital – so wholesale deletion does not work. Stress caused by email overload at work is now a serious issue. The latest statistics from the Health & Safety Executive show that stress now accounts for 45% of all lost working days in the UK and mental health experts are advising that taking a break from email is necessary to reduce stress in the workplace. Continue reading

Manufacturing Reports – 3 big problems to solve!

Reporting outputs, actions and results is a way of life in manufacturing. Daily reports are the lifeblood of any good production environment and encompass quality, operations, supply chain and health & safety to name a few. It is typical to have to spend days compiling weekly or monthly reports with significant input from valuable staff.

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Every Day can be Audit Day

When you run a critical production environment such as a multi-line food process or packaging for FMCG, you are very familiar with internal audit procedures and the appropriate BRC Standards. Within these standards are the requirements for internal audit schedules leading to corrective and further preventative actions.

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Stress Leads To Reporting Errors

When your production operative has to report an issue they are under stress.  They are losing Takt time in reporting the issue, it might even be their fault and they will end up talking to a supervisor they do not know.  But most important the production output might be compromise and the line even halted – A BIG DEAL.

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Enough with phone and emails!

Is there a better way?

You have a help desk and all the skills in your team to fix any issue but..

  • Phone calls provide insufficient information
  • Emails are vague
  • The reports aren’t timely
  • Follow up calls required to understand the issue
  • Site visit needed to find out the real issue
  • Vital information missing

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How to use Human Factors in Issue Reporting

The field of human factors is still developing and the understanding of how people react in stressful situations has been pioneered by NASA and the Nuclear Industry.

The insights produced by human reliability analysis have shaped the human – machine interface in some of the highest risk environments, such as spacecraft and nuclear power plant control rooms. In these environments performance has been enhanced by using the Standardised Plant Analysis Risk Human Reliability Analysis SPAR-H method.

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When Sh!t hits the Fan – Where are your Performance Shaping Factors?

In the production environment things can and do go wrong.  A lot of effort goes into preventing and reducing occurrence, underpinned by an understanding of human factors – incorporating Performance Shaping Factors (PSF’s).  Common key PSF’s are:

  • Available Time
  • Stress and stressors
  • Experience and Training
  • Task Complexity
  • Ergonomics
  • Quality of Operating Procedures
  • Operator fitness for duty
  • Work Processes

But when things do go wrong and we have to report an issue by picking up a phone – we throw these PSF’s in the bin!

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How to reduce reporting errors

Analysis of human error rates shows that a normal person will make an error 1 in 4 times under a normal (general) stress environment – such as reporting a problem at work.  Most work process are structured and in production environments they have well developed processes with detailed training.  These processes are designed to reduce human errors by a factor of 100 or more.

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Simple is not easy!

When you see something so simple that absolutely nails a problem on the head there is a tendency to believe that getting there was easy. Someone saw the light and came up with an elegant solution an obvious problem.

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