Green and lean manufacturing are two terms that go hand-in-hand. Green manufacturing is a response to the growing knowledge of the impact of environmental pollutants. It seeks to minimize waste that negatively affects air, water, and/or soil. Lean manufacturing also strives to eliminate waste from a process. However, the intent of lean may not really be to go green. Lean manufacturing is attractive for its cost-reducing and production-boosting results. If lean can be green in the sense that less waste is produced, can green be lean in the sense that operational cost is less?
According to greenmanufacturer.net, “Most manufacturers believe that green practices can reduce operational costs if implemented correctly and are good for business.” One outstanding example of an initiative that is both lean and green is the forklift-free or forklift-reduced environment.
Manufacturers are getting by with fewer or no forklifts by implementing power tuggers. These tuggers have proven to be extremely productive and energy-efficient. Therefore, they fit both green and lean initiatives. Forklifts use fuel and lot more energy than the battery-powered tugger. Additionally, the tuggers save energy by pulling a lot more in one load than a forklift. Carts pulled by the tugs can be hooked together to create a train effect. As many carts can be hitched together as space and supply allows. This gets a lot more done in less time and without spending a dime on fuel or forklift operator costs.
Space is positively affected by the tuggers, too, whether used in conjunction with or instead of forklifts. Walk-behind tugs take up far less space than any lift truck. This not only affects equipment storage, but also traffic flow on the floor. The necessary space to transport a load with a tugger depends on the width of the cart(s) being pulled, not the actual tugger. When using both the forklift and the tug, traffic routes should be redesigned to designate specific paths for each piece of equipment. This allows material to flow smoothly with limited risk of accident.
Speaking of accidents, no forklift obviously means no forklift accidents. In the article, “Equipment Update: Tugger Power” on mhlnews.com, several people point out the safety of the tugger, saying that there is less to learn, and therefore less to screw up. They are very easy to use and not prone to tipping like the forklifts. Also, visibility is not compromised like it is in a forklift. Accidents involving tuggers are just not an issue.
Safety falls into both a green and lean initiative. Handlers can do more work in less time with less or no risk of injury. This helps with productivity as well as worker compensation and insurance costs.
Power tuggers are often touted for their applications to lean manufacturing. They are well-known for reducing risk of injury, speeding up production flow, and improved morale. The fact that they’re part of a green initiative, too, tells us that this equipment is exceptionally valuable. They also cost far less than forklifts – both to buy and maintain. So, can we really enjoy initiatives that are green, lean, and less expensive? Thanks to the power tugger, yes indeed.
Load Movers Inc. produces the safest high-quality walk-behind tuggers on the market. For questions about equipment or to purchase, visit http://loadmoverinc.com/, call 952-767-1720, or email Info@loadmoverinc.com.