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 A Screw, Three Pieces of Tape and a Little Ingenuity Get the Job Done

DATE: Will be calculated from "Release Start Date" field.

​DEARBORN - If you look to social media nowadays you can pretty much find out anything about a person; what they’re eating, where they’re going and probably the last movie they saw. But one IT Engineer at Dearborn Engine and Fuel Tank Plant (DEP) took to the social networking site, Yammer.com, to share details about how he was able to fix a problem only using “a screw, three pieces of tape and a little ingenuity.”

No, this isn’t a plot line from the popular TV show MacGyver, this actually happened in real life.

The MP&L department at DEP uses scanners at the docks to manage engine inventory by scanning barcodes on the engine racks.

Currently, they have two scanners on-site for production use, one day in February, both scanners suddenly failed at the same time, leaving them unable to scan racks out, which resulted in a call to the IT office.

Matthew Holmes received the call.

“After heading down to troubleshoot the issue, I found that both scanners were having a separate, unrelated hardware issue,” said Holmes.

This is where that “little ingenuity” comes in. The problem was that one of the scanners mostly worked, except the button on the trigger of the scanner was not causing the laser to activate to read the barcode. Holmes figured out a short term solution, he would remap the scanning function to one of the other buttons on the scanner.

Sounds simple for an IT engineer, right? But there was one issue; the other buttons on the scanner had been physically removed.

“So, I found a screw made out of a conductive metal that would hit both contacts of the buttons to complete the circuit, and taped them up in such a way as to create an improvised button,” said Holmes.

After, fixing the problem, Holmes took to his Yammer account and posted, “This evening I fixed a production critical issue with a screw, three pieces of tape, and a little ingenuity. Only in manufacturing IT.”

The first response came from Kathy Cole, a program management consultant for The Americas. She called Holmes, “MacGyver.”

It fits perfect.

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3/29/2013 6:00 AM