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Why Visual Communications:
The warehousing and distribution industry has seen a lot of focus in the past few years. Some of this focus stems from omni channel distribution that reflects the shopping and buying behavior response to customer needs. Businesses must determine where to focus selling efforts and develop improved inventory and delivery infrastructures that provide better solutions to technology driven customers to browse and purchase product selections.
With this focus, change, and new strategies for warehousing and distribution, there are many concerns leaders in this industry have, like:
- Shortages or excess stock
- Staffing and training concerns
- Incorrect time management
- Space constraints
- Lack of standard processes
- Safety concerns for workers
Visual Communications must be a priority for leaders in this industry to become more lean to drive productivity, compliance, and to reduce costs. Choose from some of the most popular visual communications below to get started.
5S lean and safety efforts have been ramping up in these industries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the warehouse and storage industry employs over one million workers in more than 17,000 locations across the nation. Their information supports OSHA’s findings of warehouses having one of the largest accidents and injury rates of any industry. Again, the BLS information shows warehouse workers have a higher injury risk than the average American employee.
- The U.S. annual warehouse injury rate is five cases per 100 full-time workers. This means 5% of warehouse workers will suffer some form of injury this year.
- Serious injuries happened at a rate of 3.7 cases per 100 workers. They define serious cases as ones where workers lost time or needed to be reassigned to other duties.
- Less serious cases happened to 1.7% of warehouse workers. These injuries were required by law to be reported, but they didn’t result in significant treatment or downtime.
- Almost all injuries were preventable. Most accidents occurred from a lack of safety regulation. Workplaces with effective safety programs suffered almost no injuries needing treatment or causing productivity loss.
When an organization implements 5S and lean with visual communications, this creates a safer work environment. Understanding the 5S pillars, Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain, provides a methodology for organizing, cleaning, developing, and sustaining a productive work environment. The benefits of a 5S program include increased productivity, improved quality, lower operational costs and reduced injuries.
5S Lean and Safety questions to ask your team:
- Are productivity, safety, and quality key measures clearly defined for each area in your facility? Is the
information made visible, and an owner identified to maintain data?
- Do you practice 5S lean management in your facility?
5S and Lean: The 5S pillars, Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain, provide a methodology for organizing, cleaning, developing, and sustaining a productive work environment. Areas that 5S can be useful to help with lost productivity, raising quality, increased uptime, lowering costs, promoting safety, building customer confidence, and lowering repair costs.
- When practicing 5S cleaning processes, do you have daily, weekly, and monthly requirements identified with visual tracking systems?
- Are schedules visual, do they communicate variance, and are they located at the point of use?
- Do you have an incentives, rewards, and recognition programs for team members who actively participate in continuous improvement initiatives?
- Are performance goals and audit results visually posted on a regular basis and improvements documented?
- Do you look for new approaches to marking your facility aisleways, exit paths, and stationary and non-stationary items in the workplace/area/department to clearly identify the borders with the safest path through the facility?