From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Process Improvement

Dan MacLeod, CPE, MA, MPH
Recent decades have witnessed the introduction of an impressive array of strategies to streamline and enhance production.

  • Lean  — Focus on adding value and eliminating waste
  • Just-in-Time (JIT) — Reduce inventory and deliver materials just-in-time to be used
  • Six sigma — Reduction of defects (and often changes in the organizational culture to achieve that reduction)
  • Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED) — Quick changeover of presses, machines, and entire work areas
  • 5S (or 6S) — efficient organization of the work area
  • Supply chain management

Many of these techniques inherently benefit employees and their ability to do their jobs well, such as developing a well-organized work area.  Other techniques can be easily supplemented with a few concepts to help insure the jobs improve from the employee’s perspective.

Production systems consist of many elements and making improvements requires multi-faceted approaches. Production ergonomics is one of these approaches, in parallel with improvement strategies such as lean manufacturing and the quality process. The information on this site focuses on the third

All of the production improvement strategies inherently help accomplish this goal, but production ergonomics makes the process explicit.

In combination, these tools provide powerful insights on ways to improve production.  They are synergistic, not independent, strategies.  Best results are gained when practitioners apply them in concert.