Home Planning Ensures Success Ergonomics Done Right®

Written by: Kent Hatcher on March 17th, 2010

Contributed by Christy Lotz, CPE

As I walk around plants, I am starting to notice that there are a lot of ergonomic assets collecting dust on the shop floor. By
this I mean hoists, cranes, jib arms, lift assists, and lift tables.  I always
ask the question "Why is that equipment not being used?".  The typical answer is  “It didn’t work for the application”.  And thus the beginning of
our “WHY?” discussion where I probe and probe until I find the answer as to why
this expensive piece of equipment is not applicable.

As the conversation continues I ask about the supplier. I wonder why
it doesn't meet customer requirements?  Who is accountable?  How could the supplier
walk away from this project when it clearly does not do what was necessary?  Typically, the
answer is usually that the site was not specific enough up front in their request.  The more I
start to talk to engineers and managers, the more I realize the importance of
specificity and clarification.

Here's my advice.  Prior to scoping a project with a supplier, ensure that you
are both on the same page when it comes to the goals of the project. What
outcome is going to make this project successful?  Ensure there is
accountability.  If this equipment does not work as it should, then who is
responsible for making it right?  Ensure payment is dependent on the timeline of
the project and that last payment is not given until both parties have signed
off on the project as a success. 

I can’t stress planning enough.  Plan in
advance and mock up the scenario.  Prototype as necessary with the expectation
that iterations will be necessary and must be completed.

I know that readers of this blog will have many more key learnings than I
have listed.  How do you ensure a successful implementation of an ergonomic


3 responses to “Planning Ensures Success”

  1. Ensuring team member ownership is a huge component of any successful project. Include them in the planning process by utilizing their ideas and viewpoints. They have to understand and believe in the improvement, otherwise you’ll find it “collecting dust on the shop floor”.

  2. Keith Bossey says:

    Great post Christy and your message is applicable well beyond ergonomics. It seems that as organizations have reduced staff and the need for immediate action has increased, full blown planning has gone out the window. Rarely, if ever, do executives have time to just think.

  3. Christy Lotz says:

    Thank you for the input. I 100% agree that team member/operator involvement is essential. If they understand the importance of the improvement or if they have had a hand in the brainstorming, they are much more likely to utilize it. Not only that, they usually can influence others in the area or across shifts and ensure use by everyone.
    Keith also makes a good point. Projects seem rushed more than ever lately and that probably has to do with everyone “doing more with less”.

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