Thursday, October 18, 2012

Problem Solver

               Every day, a person is most likely to run into some sort of problem.  No matter how big or small, problems hurt a process or workplace. How well these problems are handled is what separates a good company from a bad company.  When solving a problem, it is very important to make sure that the problem does not occur again.
               Problems are not always recognized until it is too late or there is data that brings it into light. During my internship, I encountered production problems every hour. Sometimes problems arose from product defects or manufacturing issues. For the most part, the problems that I came across were single occurrences and could not be prevented. However, sometimes problems were recurring. For instance, I noticed that sometimes a hard copy of the bill of materials (BoM) was needed. The software that was used took the entire BoM from the database and exported all information to an excel document. The engineer would then remove all of the unnecessary information and give the BoM to production. This process took anywhere from 15-30 minutes and occurred several times a shift. After a week or so, I realized that this was a problem that could be fixed. To resolve the issue, I created a program that took the desired data and reformatted it into neat and standard template. When I started to use the program, the BoM process took under a minute and was so simple that production could do it without an engineer.
               In hindsight, I can see that I loosely followed the Plan Do Study Act(PDSA) cycle after I faced this problem. I did not necessarily base my solution off of the cycle, but I did see the relation and importance. Sometimes smaller problems do not need to follow each step of a problem-solving process.

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