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Is your workplace as efficient and safe as it could be? If not, you could unknowingly be losing thousands of dollars every year. All those “little things” you overlook add up to big losses over time and a single workplace accident or injury can wipe out profits in the blink of an eye. Here are 5 ways to improve workplace efficiency and safety.
1) Avoid Damage to Forklift Loads
Occasional damage to goods carried on forklifts is often considered just part of the price of doing business. In some warehouses, speed is equated with efficiency and forklift operators are encouraged to cut corners on safety if it slows them down. As a result, they don’t take the time to carry balanced loads or will let pallets overhang forks or rest on the edges of fork blades. Studies have proven that when forklift operators make a habit of carrying goods unsafely, goods damage increases as well.
2) Improve Workflow
Studies have shown that the average warehouse loses 15 minutes per worker per day due to inefficient workflow practices. It should be emphasized that these are the practices put in place by management and not slack work practices on the part of workers. Multiply that 15 minutes by the number of workers in your business and multiply it again by the number of working days in a year and it adds up to enormous costs. Remarkably, 89% of managers surveyed by Intermec, a workflow performance company, believed the answer was in investment in new technology. They almost universally overlooked the difference small changes like eliminating forklift battery changes in the middle of shifts or shortening the distance a forklift has to travel to access inventory can make.
3) Tighten Equipment Maintenance Scheduling
Many warehouses and factories take an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to equipment maintenance. This costs far more in the long run than they realize. If forklifts and other equipment are put on a strict maintenance schedule, it actually increases their overall up-time and decreases maintenance costs. At the same time, when hydraulic and oil leaks are eliminated from shop floors, there are fewer accidents and productivity increases in a clean working environment. See our earlier blog, Forklift Leaks: What They Mean and How to Address Them for tips on how to prevent forklift leaks.
4) Conduct Regular Training Sessions
Whether an employee is machining parts or operating a forklift, they often tend to develop bad habits over time. An approach some innovative companies take is to have their top performing employees periodically re-train less productive employees. As mentioned in Point One above, speed and efficiency do not always go hand-in-hand. If a top performing forklift operator is retrained to make safer forklift operation a habit, they can pass that knowledge on to others, improving the safety, efficiency and productivity of the entire facility.
5) Use Forklift Attachments and Accessories
Forklift attachments and accessories are manufactured for one reason: to improve forklift efficiency and safety. If they didn’t work, they wouldn’t have a market. It’s surprising, though, how many owners and managers overlook them. An inexpensive attachment like a forklift fork extension, for example, can greatly improve a lift truck’s safe carrying capacity. Polyethylene blade protectors can pay for themselves in no time by preventing damage to fragile goods and help eliminate those unsightly punctures in cartons that give customers the idea that you’re running a less-than-efficient operation.