I recently ran across a Michigan startup company called OPS Solutions that has some interesting technology that could be applied in many settings for standardized work and error proofing applications. Michigan is my home state and I’m always interested in new companies there, so I had a chance to talk to two guys from the company.
I decided this was something worth sharing on the blog to get your input and ideas. As with some other posts, this is not an advertisement or endorsement.
The general idea is to use a DLP projector (or more than one) to project visual information right onto the workplace. This information can be dynamic can include all sorts of visuals and even moving video to serve as a reminder of how work is done (see below):
You can project right onto parts that you are working on or you can use the light guidance to help people choose the correct parts to pick (sort of the same function as a fixed pick-to-light system or light curtains that might help error proof against picking the wrong parts).
A technology like this lends itself to video to understand how it works. Here is a fun example on YouTube that illustrates making a gin & tonic. It’s not quite the “perfect” gin & tonic, but it demonstrates the concept:
So I think a technology like this (as with others) is only as good as the process and training that’s built around it. The video shows that, in a real setting, might be a training problem. When it says “fill glass with ice,” one ice cube doesn’t make for a really good G&T. I think a system like this can help serve as a reminder of good practices and a work sequence, but it wouldn’t be a substitute for training. I’d still want to train the bartender using a Training Within Industry “Job Instruction” methodology – making sure they understand key points, etc.
You can watch other videos on their OPS Solutions website (requires WMV file download, so a bit harder to get access to) of their technology in real settings. It’s cool to see how you can display work instructions or guidelines right ON a production part, for example. It’s also easy to think of possible uses in an Operating Room or other healthcare settings.
What do you think? Do you see potential uses for a technology like this?
About LeanBlog.org: Mark Graban is a consultant, author, and speaker in the “lean healthcare” methodology. Mark is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as the new Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. Mark is also the Chief Improvement Officer for the technology company KaiNexus.