For What Its Worth

Computing stories, Automation

Many years ago when CAD still generated drawings first and models last, there were large numbers of people creating drawings.   One resourceful company analyzed the users and found that users fit into 3 groups, 150% productive, 100% productive and 50% productive.  They had to do something to get the 50% up to speed.  With some inventive programmers they were able to automate 70% of the task.  The user setup windows, hit the button and poof dimensions, notes and even spell checking were done.  What was left was to clean up things automation could not handle.  

They implemented the software, trained everyone and then a few months later they ran the user analysis again.  Now they had 250% and higher users,  150% users and 50% users.   They were dumbfounded.   What had happened, why hadn't the 50% users improved?  It appears the automation could not help the users who were already incapable for whatever reason.  They were already overloaded and did not improve. 

So the next time a salesman implies that you can higher "low cost" labor after implementing the automation, you can ignore the idiotic remark and throw it out of the cost analysis. Automation requires intelligent users that understand what is going on to get some or all of the advantage.

Happy Computing, VHubbard.  Transcribe June 2009

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