Ask the Expert

Contingency planning

Q: What are the core principles or elements of contingency planning management?


Metric metrics

Q: What kinds of metrics can an industrial engineering department develop for each of the following:

  • Internal customer satisfaction (plants, development groups, and other project customers)
  • External customer satisfaction (Can we relate product returns or defects to process development?)
  • Measure of process accuracy
  • Measure of process robustness


Acronym soup

Q: Can you clarify the difference between IE, OM, and OR/MS?


Half-full glass

Q: We are in the process of introducing P-charts to several of our manufacturing areas. One of the observations on the P-chart is that it foccuses on the percent non-conforming (a negative focus). The idea of charting the inverse, percent conforming, has been proposed. Would there be any reason that charting the inverse would be a problem?


Engineered standards in the warehouse

Q: I belong to an organization that is just beginning to use established engineered standards to track and measure performance in warehousing.  Unfortunately, we do not have a warehouse management system to help track performance of operations such as order picking, which can include pallet picking, case picking, and most likely, a combination of the two. Most of our other warehousing operations involve moving entire pallets of material, which leads us to believe that we can establish standards by pallet and, for now, use manual recording of pallet moves to track performance against the standard.

Is there a method for tracking an operation such as order picking against engineered standards without a WMS or labor management system in place?


Gauge tolerance

Q: I am a co-op process engineer trying to figure out the tolerancing of a new gauge I want to build. The gauge itself is a round piece of metal (or plastic) that is going to sit on top of the rim of a quartz crucible. Then, using feeler gauges, I will be checking the rim flatness (which should be within 0.3 mm) between the round gauge and the rim.

I am about to start building the round gauge and would like to know what tolerance I should make it within.


Enforcing production rates

Q: We are having performance issues in our union shop and want to make employees obtain the production rate indicated on their production card. Some jobs have been studied with MOST or time studies; unstudied jobs have an estimated rate.

If we enforce production rates, do all jobs need to be studied and do they all need to be studied with one system (MOST or time study) in order for disciplinary action to hold up in arbitration?


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