Tiffany & Company

Design of High-Performance Ergonomic Workstations To Reduce Production Errors, Reduce Skilled Jeweler Chronic Medical Conditions, and Increase Production on a Company-Wide Basis

In a multi-year engagement, MUS executed extensive design research focusing on known physical and cognitive problems present in the production of complex, high-value jewelry items. MUS conducted extensive and detailed ergonomic task analysis of production and training task functions for Tiffany and Company on a global basis. Based on robust formal design research, MUS created adjustable workstation configurations (4) optimized to reduce repetitive motion disorders and visual fatigue factors common to fine jewelry production. MUS produced multiple full-scale functional workstation and procedural simulations and conducted structured user verification testing. Following design verification studies, MUS designed and coordinated final production workstations and layout of all production departments. In collaboration with leading experts in computer vision and subject matter experts from the client, conceptualized and developed the first computer-vision based gem inspection system designed to reduce visual fatigue and increase throughput related to selection and grading of high-value gems, pearls, and stones. Coordinated development and testing of all functional prototypes and related performance verification studies to formally verify objective improvement in worker performance, job satisfaction, and reported medical conditions. Ergonomic performance and employee-related health improvements verified through user testing and on-going system optimization. New workstations dramatically increased the expected productive employment of master-level jewelers and other production employees engaged in a wide range of production and inspection tasks. AWARD Charles L. Mauro / MUS received HFES Stanley Caplan User-Centered Design Award for this research effort.