Speak Out: Speak Out 9/10/20 – Southeast Missourian


Wheels – agree that technology offers some fantastic opportunities, but suppose my concern is where technology-in-use may exceed the current capabilities and want-to’s of the users.

Though, it sounds as if you’ve fully embraced and otherwise got a vise-grip hold on technology! 🙂

Had an opportunity to integrate a new CMMS (computerized maintenance management system) at the plant. While these systems have been around for decades for electronically managing work order tasks, billing man-hours and parts to specific equipment and jobs, and managing warehouse inventory control – this version offered the promise of getting rid of the piles and piles of paperwork.

Where before, the maintenance supervisor would print work orders entered by various requestors to assign by handing out to the craftsmen, print pick tickets to exchange for needed parts from the warehouse, then go back through and close out the work orders when the craftsman returned the paper work order with cobbled work notes and times on the job pencilled in – no telling how many trees and how much time were chewed up with these high-cost administrative details.

The new system utilized the plant’s wireless network, where the supervisor could push work orders at the beginning of shift and throughout the day to an Android tablet issued to each craftsman, push parts requests to the warehouse, and a craftsman could then book his time on the job by simply hitting a Start and Stop radio button when he opened up the work order, as well as key in any notes, request additional parts that would be waiting for him by the time he got to the warehouse window, and finally close out the work order when finished – all done without a single sheet of paper burned, with the promise of much higher time efficiencies.

Whew! Painful, or no good deed goes unpunished.

Will admit this first-gen platform utilizing tablets and wireless and such wasn’t the most intuitive or user-friendly – towards an observation that the I.T. geeks can write some beautiful stuff, but doesn’t count for beans if the end-users can’t or won’t use it.

But, it was functional – one could do everything done previously with the old system, just had to learn the sequence of points and clicks and drops and drags and drop-down menus as to ‘how’.

Got a lotta backwash on how things needed to be setup, and the obligatory ‘need more training’, but this is what we got, we agree it’s better than what we had, so learn how to make it work.

Originally thought the older craftsmen would be the bigger challenge, given their general reluctance with anything ‘new’ or computer-based, but it was generally the younger ones howling most, seeming to hit a roadblock and immediately throwing their hands up rather than to work through the problem, even if it required going off-script into the ditch and across the cornfield for a while. Older guys seemed more toward muddling around, and trying this-n-that to gitter dun.

Which, in my long-winded way, gets back around to my perceived importance on hammering the basics in school – don’t be graduating jacks-and-jills of all things, when they end up as masters of none.

Perhaps the definition of basics does change – e.g. if not teaching reading and writing, then trade for employable proficiency in picking up and interfacing with any software on any computer / tablet / phone handed. All the training and schooling in the world doesn’t do much good, if the learning isn’t there.

Figure schools have no hope of exposing one to everything they will come across in life, but schools do have the opportunity to build a solid basic knowledge foundation and, more importantly, to teach students to ‘learn how to learn’ from there.

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Author: HOCAdmin