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Using Plant Tours in Material Handling Education

Using Plant Tours in Material Handling Education

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Using Plant Tours in Material Handling Education

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  1. Using Plant Tours in Material Handling Education Kimberly Ellis, Ph.D. Jeffrey Smith, Ph.D. Benoit Montreuil, Ph.D. Material Handling Teachers Institute August 2013

  2. Plant Tours • Provide a valuable teaching and learning opportunity • Reinforce traditional class room material • Energize and engage students • promote team building • draw on four senses • Enhance professional development • Generate future project and research ideas • Provide opportunity to give back

  3. Plant Tours Turn to your neighbor: • What was your most memorable plant tour and why? • What was the most surprising, interesting, or impressive aspect of the plant tour?

  4. Plant Tours for Teaching and Learning Kolb’s Experiential Learning Framework

  5. Plant Tours for Teaching and Learning • Determine objectives of tour • Plan the tour • Visit the facility • Follow-up on tour

  6. Determine Tour Objectives • Teaching and learning • organization • facility • operations and flow • equipment • human factors • information systems • Comparing or benchmarking • Improving

  7. Plan the Tour • Students are often overwhelmed by site visits • advance planning can off-set this some • Based on the objectives: • Request an organization overview • Request a facility operations overview • Determine special restrictions • Request a debrief • Consider ways to facilitate abstract conceptualization and active experimentation

  8. Request Organization and Facility Overview • Mission of organization • Where facility fits into enterprise organization • History and age of facility • Responsibility scope in terms of geography, clients, suppliers, products, and unit loads • Geographical map of inbound suppliers and outbound clients MissionTo spark the creativity that lives in every person.

  9. Request Organization and Facility Overview

  10. Request Organization and Facility Overview • Product characteristics including: • types • demand volumes • size and weight • value

  11. Request Organization and Facility Overview • Key performance indicators (KPIs) and targets • Average and peak throughput (units and $) • Average and peak inventory (units and $) • Inventory turn ratio • Key challenges in upcoming years

  12. Request Facility Operations Overview • Dimensions (footage, length to width ratio, height, number of aisles, number of levels, etc.) • Internal organization structure • Workforce levels (types and numbers) • General schedule (3 shifts, weekends, etc.) • Functions executed and general flows • Facility layout (ideally with overlay of flows) • Operating strategies • Constraints (such as bottlenecks) in operations

  13. Request Facility Operations Overview Size: 236,000 sqft 48 ft high Shipping 2,314,713 lines/yr 544,345 orders/yr SKUs 57,735 total 38,467 active Length to Width 1.7 to 1 Occupancy 82% at normal inventory levels 96% at peak inventory levels Dock Doors: 26 Staff 150 full-time employees

  14. Request Facility Operations Overview

  15. Request Facility Operations Overview

  16. Request Facility Operations Overview • Key technologies and investments • Information flow and systems • enterprise resource planning system • warehouse management system • manufacturing execution system • Views on automation • Training and safety programs

  17. Determine Special Restrictions • Before the tour, let students know about: • Recommended attire • closed-toe or steel-toe shoes • long pants • safety glasses, etc. • Safety concerns • yellow do not cross lines on the floor • light curtains • aisle mirrors • fork lifts, etc. • Pictures and video • if allowed, identify a few photographers for the group

  18. Request a Debrief • Request a post tour meeting • debrief following the tour • ask follow-up questions • talk about roles • Arrange some interaction time with a recent graduate.

  19. Tour the Facility • Explore the exterior • Explore the interior • Note building and structure characteristics

  20. Explore the Exterior • Consider facility as a box and assess: • dimensions of site and facility • exterior storage capacity • appearance (attractiveness and cleanliness) • Focus on inbound and outbound • supply, demand, dock doors, traffic flow, etc. • concurrent vehicle capacity • disposition of docks • multimodal operations • pace of operations

  21. Explore the Interior • Develop an image of the facility and compare with overview • Start from receiving and progress through shipping • Avoid being overly impressed by facility size: • Consider size along with inventory turns • Warehouse size tends to increase with lack of synchronization between demand and supply

  22. Explore the Interior • Try to obtain the essence of the following: • Interactions and interfaces between humans and equipment • receiving • inbound transit buffer • inbound quality inspection • put away • reserve areas • unit, carton, and pallet storage • order picking • sorting • value added operations • packing • outbound transit buffer • shipping

  23. Explore the Interior • For manufacturing or assembly facilities, note the following: • material flow configuration • job shop • batch processing • flow line • continuous flow • basic process flow • specialized equipment, technologies, or processes

  24. Explore the Interior • Assess inter-zone material handling methods and technologies • At each center, note or inquire about the following: • Space utilization • Work environment, content, and dynamics • Throughput and capacity • KPIs and visuals • Alternate technologies considered • Operations – priorities, rules, pace, etc. • Temperature control • Appearance

  25. Note Building and Structure Characteristics • Construction characteristics • Column configurations, floor capacity, height • Services (electricity, water, etc.) • Special services (cold room, clean room, etc.) • Security features • Safety features • Energy usage • Lighting • Environmental considerations • Flexibility and expansion potential

  26. Follow-up on Tour • Take a group photo • this is a memorable experience for most students

  27. Follow-up on Tour • Take a group photo • this is a memorable experience for most students • Express your appreciation Thank you

  28. Follow-up on Tour • Remind students to avoid negative comments during and after visit • Request a trip report from students • provide an outline in advance • promotes synthesis and critical thinking skills • keeps students from forgetting important information • example provided by Dr. Russell Meller • Include a short follow-up activity during class

  29. Limiting Factors • Size of class or group • Timing of tours • Lack of tour locations • videos may be available from • facilities or • equipment manufacturers • professional societies • CICMHE virtual tours • http://www.mhi.org/mediabank/general.asp

  30. Limiting Factors • Lack of tour locations • MHIA Tradeshows • MODEX Classroom Day • ProMat Classroom Day

  31. Plant Tours for Teaching and Learning Kolb’s Experiential Learning Framework

  32. Closing Thoughts Additional comments or suggestions? Kimberly Ellis kpellis@vt.edu

  33. Closing Thoughts Additional comments or suggestions? Kimberly Ellis kpellis@vt.edu