Integration with ergonomics and lean manufacturing improves employee engagement, reduces costs while increasing productivity and creates a safety culture.

Efficient and high-quality workplace systems reduce the amount of effort needed in a manufacturing process and will result in a more successful operation in the industry. Integrating ergonomics and lean methods in the production process is one of the best ways for company owners to improve performance.

So, if you are looking to start using lean methods and ergonomics in your factory, you have come to the right place. This article will discuss how ergonomics and lean methods are used in the manufacturing industry and how lean ergonomics can benefit your company.

But let’s first understand what ergonomics means in manufacturing and the goal of implementing ergonomics with lean processes.

The International Ergonomics Association published the following definition of ergonomics: “Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.

Ergonomics is a necessary part of workplace safety in a manufacturing environment. It’s easy to overlook day-to-day actions that can lead to long-term, cumulative disorders and injuries. Because we don’t foresee the effects, our minds may conclude that there is cause for concern.

Lean Ergonomics

While the goal of ergonomics is to improve performance and eliminate the risk of discomfort and injury in the workplace, on the other hand, the goal of Lean manufacturing is to eliminate waste and maximize efficiency.

Lean ergonomics combines the principles of lean thinking and ergonomics to increase job performance while reducing waste and the risk of employee injuries.

In ergonomics, using lean thinking implies considering every human contact with a process and assessing the waste and associated loss in both quality and safety at the same time.

With the idea of combining lean manufacturing/thinking processes with ergonomics, workplace improvement and continuous improvement reduce quantifiable risk and make the work environment more efficient, productive, and safe.

Benefits of Ergonomics in Manufacturing

In ergonomics, the worker is the central figure which means fitting the job to the worker’s capabilities. Ergonomics looks at the tasks that are being performed and matches them with the capabilities of the worker to minimize the risk of injury and maximize quality and efficiency. Let’s take a look at the benefits of ergonomics in manufacturing:

Better safety culture

Injuries from poor ergonomics are some of the most common and serious types of injuries in the manufacturing industry. According to the ILO (International Labor Organization), 2.3 million men and women globally encounter work-related accidents or diseases every year, with over 6000 deaths recorded daily.

 Integrating ergonomics into manufacturing reduces the presence of injury risk factors and the risk of injury to workers. Thus effective ergonomics ensures safety in the production stations and improves the quality of life of workers outside of work.

Reduction of costs and productivity increase

Injuries can cost more than manufacturers predict and these costs are often unaccounted for and associated with each injury. This includes operators who have to reschedule work shifts and train workers to perform the duties of the injured worker, file reports and complete incident reviews, identify root causes and report results to other managers and teams. By systematically reducing ergonomic risk factors, the costs associated with time spent on these activities can be eliminated.

In one of the cases, a gearing installation process converted from two-handed to one-handed shortened the cycle time and the new case remained ergonomically compliant

Ergonomic and lean methods, by designing a job that will provide good posture, less effort and motion, makes jobs easier and more efficient to perform, resulting in increases in productivity.

Higher worker engagement

A manufacturer that cares about the well-being of its workers and communicates this through a safe workplace and ergonomic work culture has a better chance of retaining its workforce.

A successful ergonomic plan can create a better work environment to ensure their health and safety in the factory. The ability to perform a job without fatigue and discomfort plays a role in the worker’s satisfaction with the work and it can reduce turnover, improve morale and increase worker engagement.

Summary

Integrating ergonomics into your manufacturing lines will keep your workers engaged, healthy, and more productive at less cost. Lean thinking can be integrated into ergonomic process designs and could help eliminate the waste in workers’ process activities. In the long run, the ergonomic methods will expand your company’s productivity by saving you money, scaling your organization to withstand future challenges, and competing in the global area.

Contact us to create an ergonomically successful manufacturing environment with Khenda so you can experience the benefits!

To see how Khenda can help you transform your manufacturing lines with the power of AI, simply Book a free demo today.

References

https://www.mbtmag.com/best-practices/article/13248962/ensuring-ergonomics-in-manufacturing-plants

https://www.wearekms.com/blog/2018/11/13/6-benefits-of-effective-ergonomics-for-manufacturers#:~:text=Effective%20ergonomics%20reduces%20the%20risk%20of%20injury%2C%20thus%20eliminating%20the,improve%20productivity%2C%20and%20maintain%20quality.