One of the goals of lean manufacturing is to reduce waste. In order to identify sources of waste, and subsequently targets of continuous improvement efforts, engineers attempt to remove all non-value-added steps and optimize flow between steps that do add value. In doing so, Six Sigma practitioners create process maps indicating each step of the process and swimlane diagrams indicating the handoff of responsibilities between workers. They create spaghetti diagrams and walk the process with a measuring wheel to determine if the physical setup of the manufacturing floor could be tweaked to determine if parts and people are moving as efficiently as possible.
But most manufacturing sites have relatively small Continuous Improvement teams that do not have the bandwidth to optimize the work of every single employee and the workflow for each component. Instead, these teams are forced to focus on a subset of processes – whether that be the highest visibility product line, the physical waste they can see piling up, or the defects that are causing rework. What if there was a way to make waste in the form of motion or waiting more obvious?
CareBand is the solution to identify the less obvious forms of waste in a manufacturing environment. CareBands worn by workers can be used to automatically generate spaghetti diagrams or heat maps of where workers spend their time. These tools can immediately highlight areas where employees are moving more than necessary, and waiting or searching for parts. Additionally, CareBand pendants may be affixed to parts or their accompanying work orders to illuminate opportunities to eliminate wasted motion or waiting that they endure.