5 Key Ways to Increase Productivity in the Industrial Workplace
The simple truth is that no matter how large or how small your industrial facility is, it can benefit from increased productivity. That’s because higher productivity means that you can produce more of your unique offering in a shorter amount of time, without increasing your workforce. In short, it’s every facility manager’s dream. But how do you increase productivity in the industrial workforce? Well, today we wanted to briefly discuss five key ways that you can do just that.
1. Analyze Your Current Operation
Begin by analyzing your current operation. After all, if you don’t know where your current weaknesses are, you’ll never be able to address them. When you start this process, look at everything — your people, your technology, your processes, your resources, your procedures, your communication channels, your material handling equipment, etc. Then ask yourself: how well does each of these elements contribute to my end result and is there a better option?
Look at the entire operation for efficiency and effectiveness, but also look for obvious and easy ways to make changes. Are there places where production slows down that can be reconfigured? Are your people constantly hunting for tools or materials? Is everything easily accessible? Sometimes, all it takes is a broad view to see small changes that can make a big difference.
2. Update Your Business Processes
Once you’ve analyzed your operation and identified workflow problems, work with your team — especially your project managers — and develop specific plans to address the problems you see in your manufacturing process. Maybe you need to manage budgets, work on training and certifications, or reassign resources to different areas of the work floor. As you start to make changes, make sure you keep analyzing your system to see if your changes are having the desired effect. If they’re not, try something else until you find something that does work for you and your company.
3. Eliminate or Minimize Forklift Use
Forklifts are big, cumbersome pieces of machinery that move slowly and require a lot of time and space to maneuver through your facility, and it may be time to invest in a forklift free work environment — or at least limit their use to specific “forklift zones.” Not only can this improve your company’s overall productivity, it can improve worker safety as well. And, when you partner with a company that specializes in flexible material handling solutions, you can increase your productivity in no time. As you implement the use of manual material handling carts, tugger cart systems, or automatic guided vehicles, you’ll find that your entire operation benefits.
4. Invest in Ergonomic Solutions
The term ergonomics literally means that you fit the job to the person performing it. This is done in order to help prevent various musculoskeletal disorders — also known as MSDs or repetitive motion injuries. These injuries include: carpal tunnel, tendinitis, muscle strains, lower back injuries, rotator cuff injuries, and more.
According to the BLM, MSDs accounted for 31% of all nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in 2015.  Which means that ergonomics can actually help keep your workforce healthy. One great thing about modern material handling equipment is that you can invest in products that are specially designed to improve ergonomics. For example, you can get material handling carts at the perfect height to accommodate the height and reach of your workers. Some can even be made with adjustable levels to make ergonomics even easier.
5. Put Your Employees First
The tendency to hyperfocus on profit margins and processes is understandable, but to truly improve productivity, you have to put your employees first. By providing your workers with simple things like properly maintained equipment, adequate time off, and benefits, you’ll find that they are happier and healthier. And happy employees are productive employees. Never forget that investing in your employees results in employees who are invested in the success of your company.
Now that you know some of the steps to making your production lines more productive, do it. Then, get out there and do whatever it is that your company does best!