QUICCA utilization example Vol.3
To the management and executives of food factories,
How about performing daily administrative tasks remotely?
Risks of night work
The spread of COVID-19 has increased the number of opportunities for remote work and stay at home Therefore, companies producing meals that are consumed at home, which are seeing increased demand, are performing midnight production or 24-hour production even on weekends. Accordingly, it has been reported that workers are becoming more and more tired. Originally most food factories are not able to maintain their shift work system for the production line unless they hire non-regular workers or elderly workers 65 years of age or older (see Fig. 1). However, this leads to greater risks of work accidents caused by increased fatigue or distraction and the production of defective products. It is important for management to listen to the voices of workers on-site and improve the work situation to maintain employee motivation. At the same time, management needs to actively promote automation and IT of the production line to reduce worker load.
[Percentage of non-regular workers in food production lines (Japan)]
[Age groups of employees at production sites]
Quoted from page 5 from "Toward Reforming the Way Employees Work in the Food Manufacturing Industry", published by Employment and Labor Administration Division, Labor Policy Bureau, Hokkaido Economic Department in February 2018.
Managers are constantly exposed to strain
It is not only the workers who get tired, but managers as well. There are fewer staff managing production at night than during the daytime. Accordingly, inspecting the production line at night is particularly burdensome for managers. In addition, even if the manager is at home, the occurrence of a serious problem that leads to a production halt will necessitate immediately going to the production site to investigate the causes and take necessary measures. As such, the manager is constantly exposed to mental strain. Is there any method to reduce the amount of overtime and mental stress of the manager? Described below are a number of typical cases managers could face.
During the daytime, an abnormality occurred in the production line. At night, I (working as a manager) could not fall asleep due to uneasiness about the abnormality, and I telephoned the company from my home to ask if there was any problem.
A night shift worker incorrectly operated a foreign body inspection device, which required monitoring of the critical control points, and performed the inspection using a threshold different than the predetermined one. Then, the next morning, I quickly stopped shipment of the product.
A worker at the production site telephoned my house, informing me that a foreign body inspection device was frequently causing errors. However, since I had not given the workers permission to change the device settings, I had to go to the site at night.
Merits of remotely monitoring production status
What is the common problem in Cases 1 through 3? You may think it is a mundane event, for example, the occurrence of a problem when you are not at the workplace. As production lines are consolidated and the number of items produced in each production line increases, it is becoming physically more and more difficult for managers to inspect as well as monitor the production site and give necessary instructions. We believe that your factory actively performs QC (quality control) activities and provides employee training. However, your factory needs to introduce cutting-edge equipment to support the duties of managers and workers.
As for foreign body inspection devices, in addition to excellent sensitivity, the performance specified below will be required in the future.
- The inspection device is richly equipped with guidance and/or wizard functions that allow employees who have not received special education to perform various settings with the device.
- The inspection device is equipped with an interlock function that prevents the operator from skipping a predetermined process or performing settings that are not within his/her authority. In addition, the device can record logs pertaining to settings and operation, the person who performed the setting or operation and the time at which it was performed.
- The inspection device can output lists of error messages or the operational status of multiple inspection devices, which managers can check remotely. Depending on necessity, the settings of the inspection machine can be changed remotely.
What QUICCA, a total quality control system, can do
QUICCA is richly equipped with functions to assist the tasks that managers must complete. Some examples are described below.
- A manager who is at home or the office can grasp the conditions for each production line such as the presence of a defective product and details with regard to errors. Therefore, the manager can quickly give instructions to the production site. This reduces production downtime, which improves productivity.
- Daily and weekly reports are electronically recorded and can be output on the screen whenever needed. Accordingly, the manager does not have to print out and file dozens of forms on a daily basis.
- The plan and the achievements are displayed in real time on a graph for comparison. Therefore, the manager can concentrate on implementing measures on production lines that are experiencing production delays without walking around the production site.
- In cases such as the frequent occurrence of defective products, the QUICCA screen can display X-ray transmission images of acceptable products before and after a defective product. Since the manager can check the transmission images either in the office or at home, he/she can minimize risks before shipment.
- As soon as an error occurs in the device, photography using the camera can be initiated. After viewing the photos, the manager can identify improvements for the production line and areas in employee education that are deficient.
Examples of QUICCA screens
Enables monitoring of production line status in real time.
The user can view the QUICCA screen at various locations, including the production site, office, or home.
Since a production line is equipped with various equipment such as for conveyance, power supply, and air conditioning, it is not possible to remotely control all pieces of equipment from the start. However, the use of QUICCA can greatly reduce inspection-process-related burden for the manager. During the spare time created by the reduction of such burden, the manager can work on an improvement plan based on the long-term vision. Please consider introducing QUICCA.
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