Ergonomics done right.®
March 14th, 2008

Right Sizing Equipment: Consider the Operator

In his blog Got Boondoggle, Mike Wroblewski talked the other day about right sizing equipment:

"One of the challenges in kaizen is getting people to see beyond their
perceived boundaries to what is possible. One example is using right
sized equipment. Many times we end up buying the best value of
equipment for the money with as many bells and whistles possible, just
in case we need them in the future. With this thought process, we end
up with larger equipment with unused capabilities than what we actually

Another thing to think about: right sizing the footprint of equipment
is essential for reducing waste (muda) of floor space. However, in the
goal to right size equipment, many organizations and teams forget the
operator and “right size” the working height to a lower level. In turn
this can cause the operator (feeding lumber into the saw) to work in a
bent and awkward posture; introducing ergonomic risk and waste (muda)
of motion.

My point is to consider all elements of the
workplace (floor space, flow, motion, ergonomic risk factors) to ensure
the improvement of one issue does not introduce another exposure
(safety, ergonomic, etc.).