Lean Manufacturing kitting trolley

Logistics to improve safety and efficiency within warehouses & manufacturing facilities

The logistics sector is one of the leading sectors within the digital transition 4.0. In the last two years, it has become even more central to increasing efficiency, safety and processes optimization within production and warehouse.

Investments in new technologies have increased in all company areas, especially within logistics. In fact, according to a 2020 research carried out by the University of Brescia, which analyzed a sample of 110 manufacturing companies, of different sizes, 62% believe in the new development of logistics 4.0, but only 37% are moving. according to this direction.

The most important items, in the logistics processes within the warehouse are the investments to improve safety and efficiency.

Safety and Efficiency

Safety is a central issue for logistical processes. Operators carry out high-risk operations, such as lifting and transporting heavy loads, or assembling raw materials.

Other risks may also come from the surrounding environment, such as electricity or extreme temperatures, which can cause further damage to plant operators. Warehouse accidents can cause serious reputational damage to companies, resulting in a significant increase in costs.

This is why employers must strive to make the workplace a safe place, where operators can work in maximum comfort.

Safety, together with costs, quality and timing, is one of the 4 macro areas for measuring efficiency within a manufacturing warehouse. Streamline the production and logistic processes allows to increase the customer satisfaction and the competitiveness on the market.

It is therefore essential to analyze the operations costs, such as unloading, storage, loading, picking; but also consider how much space is occupied.

Employers must consider also the percentage of errors, these are all metrics to consider to make a warehouse and a manufacturing facility more efficient.

Let’s see some tips in more detail.

Use the correct equipment, technologies and tools

Operators must have the correct equipment and tools to carry out their operations safely and efficiently.

Solutions capable of carrying heavy loads, which improve ergonomics and access materials on production lines.

Solutions easy to move and able to reduce times, as well as the number of stations inside the facility, optimizing space management.

These can be represented by kitting trolleys, pallet trolleys or hanging trolleys:

Kitting trolley to improve safety and efficiency in your warehouse

Kitting trolley

Trolleys with shelves for tools and kits, or monorails for neatly hanging small parts.

Easy to maneuver trolleys, with handles, swivel wheels with brakes and tow bars for milk run.

Pallet trolley to improve safety and efficiency in your warehouse

Pallet Trolleys

Materials can be transported manually trough trolley equipped with swivel wheels, which increase their mobility and provide a solid support base for heavy loads.

Pallet trolley to improve safety and efficiency in your warehouse

Hanging Trolleys

The materials are stored on tubular profiles, so that they are immediately visible to the operators. This makes the picking operations more efficient.

Gravity Feed Conveyors

Gravity Feed Conveyors increase efficiency and safety. Gravity feed conveyors work by creating an incline within the flow rack to prompt movement of carriages or parts within the rack. Gravity feeds the part from A to B using rollers or surfaces created to suit the individual requirement. At the same time the inclined shelves guarantee quick access to materials, simplifying picking operations.

Visual Management

Finally employers should also install tools capable of guaranteeing safety and protection in the manufacturing warehouses.

For example, space delimiters and safety signs, signaling tapes, which ensure that only qualified operators can access certain areas.

Training courses and monitoring of SQCDP standards

Employers must provide regular training courses, both for apprentices and experienced staff.

Safety guidelines are constantly changing and continuous updating is required.

Injuries are often caused by improper use of machinery, which is why it is essential that only qualified and trained operators use the equipment. The operator must always be alert, because small distractions can cause workplace accidents.

Distractions that most often result from tiredness. Therefore, providing breaks is important to reduce risks and errors in operations.

In addition to training, it is essential that plant managers monitor SQCDP standards: safety, quality, cost, delivery and people.

This allows to continuous improvement teams to focus and discuss the key points to ensure safety, efficiency and improvement for operations within the plants.

Lean Cube to improve safety and efficiency in your warehouse
Lean Cube

Information cubes and KPI reporting boards are solutions capable of displaying the production trend, but also:

  • Strengthen and share goals with the team and operators
  • Promoting transparency and culture within the organization
  • Improving efficiency and organizing workflow
KPI metric reporting boards
KPI metric reporting boards

Manufacturing warehouse layout

A well-designed manufacturing warehouse can help reduce multiple risks and injuries. A non-slip flooring, for example, can reduce the risk of falls and any toxic material must be stored so as not to harm the health of operators.

The disorder also strongly affects the risk of accidents. Having clean and well-organized workstations, is a foundamental step to increase productivity and operators satisfaction.

Lean Manufacturing Workstation
Lean Manufacturing Workstation

A recent Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study reported that approximately 1.7 billion people have musculoskeletal injuries. Therefore, ergonomic is essential for injury prevention.

In the last article, we analyzed how ergonomic and modular workstations strongly affect the injuries reduction, but concerning future investments, employers should also investigate automation.

Material handling is a repetitive and non-value-added activity that forces operators to travel several kilometers throughout the day.

Automated, intelligent and accessible robotic systems improve repetitive tasks, increase ergonomics, safety and efficiency within manufacturing warehouses.