Smartphone Workplace Reporting


In this new situation of the Coronavirus impact on the whole world one of the difficulties to recover production in manufacturing lines could be having to share line terminals by different employees while avoiding virus transmission.
One alternative to solve this problem is to have each employee use his/ her own smartphone to do all the reporting.
One major advantage of using your own phone is that the skill is already there: a new IT application would require training.

Some Possible Business Uses for an Employee's Own Smartphone

  • Workplace data collection in real time
  • Incident reporting anywhere any time
  • Maintenance repair action reporting from anywhere when it is complete
  • Value Stream Map building and validation in Gemba (where the action is)
  • Real-time Statistical Process Control
  • Real time manufacturing status display for all those concerned

Workplace Data Collection

Pencil and paper data collection is still very common even in high-tech manufacturing industries
This approach, apart from being time consuming, makes it impossible to control the process in real time.
Pencil and paper collection doesn't meet the current health requirements under Coronavirus: several people need to handle the paper.
An alternative is to collect the data in a spreadsheet in the cloud (Google Drive, Onedrive, Intranet, etc.) using our own smartphone connected via WIFI.

Defects can be detected anywhere along the process but it may be inconvenient to go to the nearest terminal to report. With our own smartphone we can report the defect in a spreadsheet in the cloud but also make a photo and attach it to the file so you may avoid any additional explanations.
This approach also enables data entry validation avoiding data entry errors.

Data entry could be done with pull-down menus to avoid typing.
Timestamps can automatically be added to register the reporting time.
In case of having to enter a written clarification, text can be entered with voice from the smartphone.

Incident and Repair Action Reporting

Incidents affecting the process may take place anywhere any time. If reporting is done at a later stage time information is lost: when exactly did it happen. This information is critical when it comes to failure analysis: correlation with process parameters or other incidents, etc.
By using our smartphone we are able to report it when it happened and the timestamp can be automatically added.

The maintenance spreadsheet in the cloud can keep track both of incidents reported and repair actions by the maintenance department.
Pull down menus can be used to report the equipment, component, failure, etc. and this will enable the maintenance department to track failure frequencies and get to the root cause of problems.
Incidents can be classified by urgency to enable maintenance assign priorities. Pending actions already late are marked in red and due actions in orange.
Using a smartphone simplifies reporting of both incidents and repair actions.
Association of defect type and repair action is also possible with this integrated worksheet helping Maintenance in their diagnostic.

Value Stream Map Building and Validation

A Value Stream Map of the process we want to improve is built after visiting the line where the process takes place.
This Value Stream Map can be built in a spreadsheet in the cloud by using a smartphone from the line itself

  • The VSM is built directly in the cloud (Google Drive) and all participants visiting the line have write access with their smartphone.
  • As they move along the line they all agree on who is doing what and when.
  • Typing of the process steps in the Excel sheet can be done by voice.
  • The VSM, as it is being built, can be shown to the line operators in order to validate it.
  • After the VSM is complete the same method can be used to collect process parameters (process time, WIP, etc.) in the VSM Excel visiting the line.
  • An Excel file can be used to measure and collect process times with the smartphone:

Real Time Statistical Process Control

Statistical Process Control (SPC) requires real-time data collection in the different control points. It may be difficult to provide terminals in all these points to report so our own smartphone may be a valid alternative by building our SPC chart in a spreadsheet in the cloud (Google Drive, etc.)

This Individuals-Moving Range SPC chart applies the Western Electric rules to detect out-of-control situations in real time as the data is being entered.
This chart is visible to the operator entering the data with his smartphone and also to the operators responsible for that process step with a tablet or PC connected via WIFI to the Google Drive spreadsheet.
In this example there is a significant drop in yield between 10:00 and 16:00 (4 out of 5 consecutive values more than 1 sigma below the average)

Real Time Manufacturing Status

In order to keep everyone involved in the process informed on how are we doing we need this information to be available and up to date at all times with Project Scheduling.
A Gantt chart can show the plan and it could be updated by the production system or by the person responsible with a smartphone. 

An Andon can be displayed in the line to show the status but also accessed from the smartphones to see how are we doing.

In this example:
  • Component manual insertion DPMO (Defects per million insertions) is 4124: above the target of 1500 (RED)
  • Pin-Thru-Hole wave solder DPMO (Defective solder joints per million joints) is 32: below the target of 190 (GREEN)
  • Current throughput: 13 cards/ hour at 13:55 on 15/11/2005 at the PTHHW station

With this real-time information the operators involved can react before it is too late and correct the situation.


  • The smartphones owned by employees in the line often use a much more advanced technology than the reporting workstations which are often not very user friendly.
  • The employees' own smartphones may be used for real time data collection to avoid sharing terminals and comply with health requirements in the current situation of a Coronavirus Pandemic.
  • Data collection in real time is one of the most useful smartphone applications even with no phone line connection other than WIFI.
  • Since everyone already has the skills you can easily implement these proposed solutions to control your process in real time and keep everyone informed at all times.


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