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Practicing What We Preach: Work Measurement And Methods Improvement For The Steps Camp

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Innovative Teaching Methods in IE Education

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1007.1 - 11.1007.8



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Paper Authors


Mary Kundrat Grand Valley State University

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Graduate Student in the Padnos School of Engineering at Grand Valley State University

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Shabbir Choudhuri Grand Valley State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Practicing What We Preach: Work Measurement and Methods Improvement for the STEPS Camp

Introduction and Overview

The global trend and high competition in the manufacturing arena are making it more imperative to deploy conventional and alternative process improvement tools. “Manufacturing Work Environments”, a graduate course at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) addresses the issues related to work measurement, method improvement, safety, and ergonomic aspects in work design. As a practice oriented teaching school, GVSU highly emphasizes the culmination of the learning process by the realistic execution of the principles and techniques taught in a course. In that tradition, this course employed a semester ending project as an important tool to develop the proper understanding of the course materials.

This particular project idea involved improving the efficiency, performance and work environment at the Science, Technology, and Engineering Preview Summer (STEPS) camp held at Grand Valley State University. The STEPS camp at the university is intended to introduce seventh grade girls to the fields of engineering and technology. The primary and most important activity in the camp is the construction of model airplanes. Even though the STEPS camp is not a traditional manufacturing environment, there exist many parallelisms. Moreover, application of process improvement tools at non-traditional cases is not rare [1]. In addition to improving the efficiency of the camp, this project aims to teach the participants valuable industrial engineering principles by instilling good workplace practices. Incidental learning, especially among children, is a well recognized phenomenon [2, 3].

This project analyzed and improved the three major areas of the camp, namely Material Inventory and Consumption, Material Storage, and Airplane Construction. The complete work was submitted to the STEPS administrator at GVSU [4]. This paper presents selected applications of the industrial engineering (IE) principles only in the Airplane Construction portion of the STEPS camp.

Airplane Construction

Construction of the airplanes involves eighteen work stations located in three separate rooms. Initial studies revealed weaknesses that could be remedied by the application of standard IE tools. One of the major problems in the existing process is the flow among work stations within a particular room. Participants fail to understand the goal of a series of tasks because of the confusing work flow. Even within a workstation, lack of material organization causes physical discomfort, chaos, and reduced efficiency.

Though work-standard instructions for each station are provided in each room, the camp participants do not refer to them during the construction process. The time allotment for each construction room does not give the participants the opportunity to read through the details. Moreover, they were written in a traditional authoritative manner, failing to provide the

Kundrat, M., & Choudhuri, S. (2006, June), Practicing What We Preach: Work Measurement And Methods Improvement For The Steps Camp Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1371

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