Warehouse workers carrying multiple boxes to pallet rack

Better workforce flexibility AND profits with (smart) lifting solutions

Food & Beverage, Logistics, Manufacturing

Workforce flexibility is a key enabler for modern businesses in order to be responsive and agile. Creating workforce flexibility brings many additional benefits including increased productivity, minimized downtime and improved worker health & safety. All of which will contribute to your bottom line.

How workforce flexibility impacts your bottom line

In logistics and manufacturing sectors, an important challenge to workforce flexibility and job rotation is the physically demanding characteristics of tasks. Heavy manual handling such as picking large packages in a warehouse or unloading containers stacked with loose loaded boxes is physically demanding. Tasks that require a high level of repetitive movements, such as sorting packages from conveyor to pallet, are also physically demanding, especially when performed at high frequency throughout a shift. It’s difficult to use job rotation and utilize your workforce efficiently when only a limited percentage of your employees can perform these tasks. Not to mention that it makes your business more fragile to sudden resource shortages and sick-leaves.

Warehouse workers carrying multiple boxes to pallet rack   Lifting and carrying large heavy drums

Making your business more resilient and agile is a main benefit of smart lifting solutions. Imagine being able to have any one of your workers perform even the most demanding work process. By investing in smart handling solutions, you can empower your employees to lift and transport loads (by themselves, without effort). Creating workforce flexibility brings many additional benefits including increased productivity, minimized downtime and improved worker health & safety. All of which will contribute to your bottom line.

What is workforce flexibility?

Having a flexible workforce means that your employees can perform a variety of different tasks and can be deployed to when and where they are needed the most. A company with a flexible workforce ensures that employees can perform different tasks and functions in response to fluctuations in demands and labor resources.

Man lifting heavy sacks

Businesses embracing flexibility can use job rotation, and hire temporary or part-time employees to support full-time staff during busy periods. As a result, a flexible workforce ensures cost effectiveness and more flexible employment opportunities, matching the needs of both employers and employees.

Benefits of a flexible workforce

  • Increased productivity

With employees capable of performing a variety of functions, their productivity can be optimized by directing them to any task as soon as it arises. This means that issues can be fixed without delay, guaranteeing sustained standards and in the end, customer satisfaction.

How smart lifting solutions contribute – In a warehouse of a retailer for example, using smart lifting solutions would mean that all workers could assemble any customer order by themselves (no matter the size or weight of the goods). One person will easily do a job that previously required two people. Click here to read more on this topic.

  • Resource efficiency

A flexible workforce enables your business to be agile. If you are looking to diminish operation costs or are facing high levels of employee absence due to sickness you can maintain high standards and achieve targets even with a small number of employees.

How smart lifting solutions contribute – Even the most physically demanding tasks can be fulfilled by the workers on site. The workers can switch between workstations without any need to consider if they can manage the physically tough manual handling involved in the task (especially in a time sensitive process such as order picking or palletizing).

  • Employee retention and motivation

Assigning diverse tasks to your employees does not only improve productivity and efficiency, but also creates a dynamic work environment. Resulting in greater employee engagement and motivation.

How smart lifting solutions contribute – improved working conditions and ergonomics will boost worker morale and retention rates. Implementing solutions to improve worker’s daily operations, and improve their health will make your employees motivated and more loyal.

Manufacturers and warehouse logistics work in fast-moving global markets, constantly striving to do things better and smarter in order to meet the shifting economic conditions and increased customer demands. A flexible and adaptable workforce is crucial to achieve long-term success.

Warehosue worker umoading boxes from pallet

Workforce flexibility is a key enabler for modern businesses in order to be responsive and agile. Ageing populations in developed economies provide additional challenges in retaining optimal efficiency.  Continuously improving business operations to work smarter must become part of everyday life.

5 steps to boost workforce flexibility

  1. Identify critical areas. Which areas are particularly sensitive to fluctuations in employee resources and availability? What tasks can only be performed by a limited percentage of your team?
  2. Talk to your employees. Creating a flexible workplace means all employees should be treated equally and fairly. You could talk to your team about what flexibility options they would benefit from, such as job rotation.
  3. Provide the right tools. More work hours does not necessarily equal more productivity. A logistic worker tasked with manually sorting and palletizing boxes from conveyor to pallet in the fastest possible time, will not thrive by getting more work hours to his or her shift. However, smart tools that would make it possible for the worker to keep a consistent pace while not straining his/her body could bring new possibilities. Both in efficiency and worker motivation.
  4. Provide training. When introducing new procedures at your business, be sure to communicate the benefits to your employees and make sure that you provide sufficient training to get them started. When implementing a new lifting solution for example, it’s important that the operators understand the benefits of using the tool (for both their own wellbeing and the business overall performance).
  5. Follow up. Reach out to your employees from time to time, making sure that your workforce is comfortable and productive with the actions you’ve made.

How TAWI will help you get there

Won’t lifting equipment slow down production? Isn’t manual handling faster? These are common questions among managers considering implementing lifting solutions in their daily operations. From our long experience and continuous feedback from thousands and thousands of customers, this is rarely the case.

Girl turning drum with a handhold lifting trolley  lifting box above shoulder height using vacuum lifter with flex handle

In fact, most often our customers are positively surprised by the fact that overall efficiency INCREASES by using TAWI systems. Besides creating a flexible workplace where your employees can move between workstations, additional benefits include minimizing downtime and ensuring that your workers can keep a high even pace throughout every shift.

“Everyone can handle heavy sacks with TAWI lifters, increasing flexibility and ensuring that the production never stands still”, Jonas Ericsson, Production Manager at Bakels, Sweden.

From promise to reality – What our customers say

At Zabolak in the Netherlands, long wooden panels are processed from raw material to final wood products. The finished panels are packed in bundles, then palletized awaiting further transport to end customer. Palletizing these large and heavy bundles used to demand two employees working together to lift and place them on pallets.  

To optimize their business operations, Zabolak looked for ways to improve efficiency. In high-demand periods, temporary personnel are often brought in to support production, so it was important that any potential solution was user-friendly and easily utilized by all employees.

The final investment was made in vacuum systems from TAWI. The solution was able to meet the demands of being easily integrated into Zabolak’s workflow, and being easy to use and handle, even for temporary personnel. “This makes people very flexible on that work station”, Henry Jacobs, Managing Director at Zabolak Netherlands.

The fact that anyone can work with the vacuum lifters also means that palletizing heavy bundles no longer require two employees. One employee can palletize the bundles efficiently without physical strain. Instead of tying up two employees in this process, one employee can be effectively utilized somewhere else. Positively impacting productivity and the bottom line.

 

TAWI offers a full range of smart lifting solutions, including mobile order pickers, vacuum lifters, lifting trolleys, cranes and hoists. When choosing a TAWI solution, you will get a high quality system, adaptable to your specific requirements and a loyal partner from the first point of contact to the implementation in your facility. Contact us and find out how we can help improve your bottom line.

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