How Variation In Work Environment Can Affect Productivity and Create Problems

Posted by on Mar 9, 2019 in Continuous Improvement, Kaizen, Lean, Lean Six Sigma, Problem Solving | 0 comments

We seldom think of our environment as being a detriment to our job.  But work environment can have a larger affect on your productivity and can create problems that lead to errors, defects, and costly rework. Mother nature and environment can have a dramatic effect on the products we produce and the services we provide. Some of the obvious factors include humidity, excessive heat, cleanliness, noise levels, drafts, and good old mother nature.

An example of this occurred several years ago when I was working with a local client in Youngstown.  They were having weld issues on one side of a machine and not the other.  Upon further investigation, we found that a fan was blowing directly on the side that was having the problem.  The fan was moved and the problem went away.

Other factors such as company culture have a far greater impact and affect how we react to situations and shape our attitudes for better or worse. In a December, 2015 article in Forbes magazine, “Proof That Positive Work Cultures Are More Productive, the environmental impacts in organizations is enormous.  The number one issue is the stress created in high pressure organizations.  Health care expenses in these organizations are typically 50% greater than at other organizations.  The next highest impact is employee disengagement. Studies reveal disengaged workers had 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents, and 60% more errors and defects. In organizations with low employee engagement scores, they experienced 18% lower productivity, 16% lower profitability, 37% lower job growth, and 65% lower share price over time. The third impact is the lack of loyalty and the high turnover it creates.

Here’s a list of things you may want to consider when addressing environmental issues and their affect:

  • Does variation in weather conditions affect the products and services you provide?
  • Are there internal variables, such as fans, heaters, open windows or doors that have a detrimental affect on manufacturing?
  • Are bad material handling practices such as storing materials outside or bad employee practices causing adverse affects?
  • Does your facility need attention in the areas of cleanliness, excessive noise, or odors that can affect employees and safety?

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