If it’s one word that describes today’s work situation, it’s BUSY. Manufacturing and logistics companies are constantly looking for ways to be more productive and get more work done in a shorter time period. In this strive, manual material handling is a common but often unknown barrier to success. Using smart material handling equipment will help you boost workplace productivity in more ways than one.
Empower your employees to work smarter, not harder
When we talk about workplace productivity, we are referring mainly to how much work is accomplished over a particular time period. When a business is fully operational and functioning at capacity, productivity should (in theory), be maximized.
However, a company’s workforce is a considerable contributing factor to its ability to reach productivity goals. Creating a productive workplace doesn’t only ensure that you meet your business goals, it also helps you create a healthy and engaged workplace culture. In turn, boosting employee morale positively affects not only productivity but employee retention as well.
Manual handling – a bottleneck to productivity goals
Human labour is still needed on the production/warehouse floor in many industries, including manufacturing and logistics. Workers must ensure a smooth process of transferring materials (handling) from one machine or workstation to another.
A common manual material handling task workers perform is lifting objects. Manual material handling increases the risk of injuries and work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as back pain. MSDs are among the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time.
Different ergonomic lifting aids and tools are available. However, smart lifting solutions help you achieve two objectives: reducing the risk of injuries AND improving your workplace productivity.
For example, a company within food product manufacturing has a task in their production process that involves emptying heavy flour bags into a mixing bowl. To meet targets, 120 bags are added to the mixing bowl every hour. Two workers are assigned to lift each bag from the pallet onto the metal grate above the bowl. The workers experience body strains and fatigue, getting worse throughout the day. By using a smart lifting solution, like a vacuum lifter, the company can both increase worker health & safety and improve productivity. The bags can be lifted faster and without physical strain using the right lifting equipment. Ensuring an even flow of bags into the mixer, every hour of every day.
How can lifting solutions improve workplace productivity?
Investing in a material handlings solution, such as a vacuum lifer or hoist, can boost your company’s productivity in more ways than one. These lifting solutions are designed to lift, move and manipulate a wide range of objects and materials. There is a lifting solution for just about anything, from large oil drums to cumbersome plastic sacks. So, how do these solutions improve workplace productivity?
Move more loads in less time
Just because employees can physically lift and move heavy, large or cumbersome objects, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s efficient, especially in the long run. Moving a liquid-filled drum across the factory may take two or three workers 10 minutes. An overhead rail-based vacuum lifter allows a single worker to perform the same task in minutes without physical strain.
Another example is two workers picking heavy packages for a customer order in a warehouse. A mobile vacuum lifter will allow one worker to pick up these orders faster and more safely. Making it possible for any employee to singlehandedly lift even the heaviest or bulkiest items.
Reduce the risk of injuries
Many work-related injuries result from employees picking up and/or moving heavy objects the wrong way. It can also involve less heavy objects handled at a high frequency or over an extended period. A smart lifting solution does not only make material handling faster, it takes away the physical strain on the workers bodies. Thereby increasing workplace productivity and reducing the risk of injuries simultaneously.
Boost employee morale
One of the lesser-discussed benefits of smart lifting solutions is the positive impact it has on worker morale. Far too many company’s use outdated tools and equipment (or none at all). Employees appreciate when their employer makes an effort to invest in lifting equipment that will improve their health and safety. Increased worker morale is likely to boost employee efficiency and retention.
How can TAWI help you achieve your goals?
If we invest in a lifting solution, wouldn’t it slow down production? What equipment can ensure that we maintain productivity? These are common concerns among production managers when considering implementing lifting equipment in their production process.
TAWI lifting equipment does not slow down, but often speeds up operations. Below are just a few examples of customers who have experienced time-savings.
“We’ve experienced 50% time reduction when unloading boxes from pallets. These are pretty significant gains, which is why TAWI vacuum lifters have exceeded our expectations”, Jeff MaDouse, Operations Manager at Hawe Hydraulic.
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. TAWI offers a full range of smart lifting solutions, including mobile order pickers, vacuum lifters, lifting trolleys, cranes and hoists. Contact us and find out how we can help improve your bottom line.
A real life example
Rockwool is a leading supplier of stone wool products and insulation systems. At their production site in Belgium, manual handling used to be involved in many steps along the production process all the way to packaging and palletizing the finished product.
Lifting the finished products from conveyor belt to pallet involves handling boxes weighing between 20-30kg. Every pallet contain up to 72 boxes. Over a work shift, one single employee will fill at least four pallets, lifting a total weight of 7200kg in a short time period.
A few years ago, Danny Flass, production site supervisor at Rockwool, made the decision to invest in lifting equipment to make work more ergonomic for the employees as well as ensuring that the same work speed could be maintained throughout a whole shift. Using TAWI vacuum lifters and trolleys, productivity has been increased with time saving effects and the workers can perform the work faster without getting tired.
“The investment in TAWI lifting equipment pays of quickly due to the obvious health benefits for the employees”, Danny Flass, Production site supervisor at Rockwool Belgium.
Warehouses and distribution centres face significant challenges with labour shortages and high employee turnover rates, leading to increased overtime and staffing issues. A flexible workforce, enhanced with vacuum lifting technology, can be a game-changer in addressing these challenges.
The logistics industry is constantly changing and adapting to the rapid growth of technology and the need to conserve the environment. For any business to stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive in these times, it must be flexible enough to accommodate the latest technological advancements, new processes, and strategies to succeed. Logistics technology will continue to expand and grow, making the logistics industry more agile and reliable. Here are some top trends to watch in 2023 that will shape the future of the logistics industry.
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