Ergonomics done right.®
March 11th, 2008

Live from AEC: Achieving Ergonomics Excellence

More from Josh Kerst:

The first session of the day was greeted by a standing room only crowd eager to hear and discuss the "secrets" from a benchmarking study of six leading organizations. The message was clear and resonated with the audience. Ergonomists must show value to their organizations by demonstrating financial performance. Mike Wynn (also a VP at Humantech) highlighted the key elements of the study:

  • Participating companies found that injuries are reduced when risk is reduced (fix the job!)
  • The financial benefits of an ergonomics agenda go beyond injury prevention and include both productivity and quality gains. For example, an auto manufacturer reported an 11% reduction in quality problems where ergonomics had simultaneously been addressed during workplace improvement events compared to only 2% where it had not (more on this to come in a post tomorrow)
  • The ergonomics maturity curve clearly illustrates how companies move their resources and emphasis over time from reactive to proactive to preventative

The linkage between lean manufacturing and ergonomics is no longer optional for success. The 4 M’s (Machine, Materials, Methods, Man) concept illustrated this because most companies have lots of tools and techniques for stabilizing three of the four (5S, Kanban, JIT, PokeYoke), but what part was missing? You guessed it, the one they don’t have a good handle on is stabilizing the person in the process. Without a stable system, there can be no systematic success. As a result, companies are using ergonomic management systems to stabilize the people part. Management commitment is critical and is sustainable when the ROI feedback loop to the results is linked in.