Lean Manufacturing: Reducing Manpower

posted on: Saturday April 11, 2015

uspo Load MoverLean practices in manufacturing aim to reduce unnecessary time, processes, and manpower in production. The result is a more efficient operation with minimal waste. Manufacturers focus heavily on layout and automation to achieve a more lean operation. These changes do yield success, but some aspects of manual material handling can’t transform to lean with these two approaches alone.

For example, without automated guided vehicles (AGVs), production workers still have to push or pull material throughout a warehouse or production floor. One person can only handle so much drawbar pull before the task is not safe. The result is either more trips by that one person or fewer trips by multiple people. Either way, it is a waste of manpower.

There is a very simple solution to this that can be implemented immediately. Power tuggers – also known as cart pushers, tugs, or power movers – are efficient pieces of equipment that have aided numerous manufacturers in achieving leaner processes.  The compact, ergonomic tug attaches to anything on wheels. One operator then uses it to effortlessly push or pull the load where it needs to go. Depending on the drawbar pull of the load, one tug can replace several people.

The capabilities of these compact units are so versatile that you can actually increase the amount of material transported in one trip. By linking carts together (or whatever wheeled platform you have), the power tugger can pull multiple loads in one trip. Depending on the material and the tug, you could double, triple, or even quadruple the load size of each trip. In other words, one worker can double to quadruple his or her productivity – and that’s just in one load.

The efficiencies of power tuggers go beyond lean manufacturing. They are often used because they greatly reduce the likelihood of musculoskeletal disorders. Power tuggers take the strain and fatigue out of a very physical job task. Manual material handlers incur a number of chronic injuries, and they only become more vulnerable as they age. Countless manufacturers have invested in power movers to prevent workers compensation claims, or to keep aging workers on the payroll.

If you’re looking to make your manual material handling leaner, talk to the experts at Load Mover, Inc. We can help you determine where a power tugger can improve your processes. We will also help you figure out the drawbar pull of each load in question. With this information, we will fit you with the appropriate unit. Contact us today: 952-767-1720 or info@loadmoverinc.com.