Optimizing Productivity for Pickers and other Manufacturing Employees

Three solid strategies to improve productivity in manufacturing

xtralargeThanks to strategies like Lean, Six Sigma, and other methods of Continuous Improvement, manufacturing is becoming faster, smarter, and more cost effective. These methods along with Labor Management Systems have helped companies identify various forms of waste and non-value added tasks. Eliminating and/or optimizing these activities make a big impact in the overall process.

Unproductive times are easier to identify and understand with these approaches. Managers are finding that a lot of unnecessary activity gets built into the process.   For instance, a picker who is only productive 6 hours of an 8-hour shift is probably not skirting responsibility. He probably gets stuck in the process – waiting for pick tickets, for product, completing safety check sheets, and other 10-20 minute elements of empty productivity. Strong managers can identify these tasks and eliminate them.

What about the unproductive times that can’t simply be extracted from the process?

Productivity hinges on human capability – both physical and mental. So, to improve productivity, how can you make your workers even more physically and mentally capable?


Incentives work well for employees in a number of ways. There is only so much room to physically do work faster or more accurately. With incentives, employees are more apt to find innovative ways to be more efficient. They are also more collaborative and proactive. Of course, this may not be the case where overtime is available.

Possible incentives can come straight from the cost savings you gained from more productive work. If a job that usually takes two hours only takes one, figure you saved about $20 in labor. As this adds up, you can split 50% to the company and 50% back to the employees.

Reduce Necessary Manpower

Pickers are only one of many workers who can potentially work more efficiently. Often times parts or equipment needs to be transported, and the heavier the load, the more labor goes into moving it. Whether multiple people are required to push/pull a load, or multiple trips from one person, this is an easy task to improve. Equipment like power tugs are built to overcome the “Draw-bar Pull” requirements of heavy objects. One person can effortlessly pull thousands of pounds by himself, so other workers aren’t interrupting their jobs to help. Additionally, carts can be connected together to form a train behind a power tug. This increases the product flow with a single move without the strain to the operator.

Minimize Wait Times

If you’re looking at equipment like a battery-operated power tug, you can also use it to minimize wait times. Unlike a forklift, the tug requires no special training. If parts or widgets are ready to be moved horizontally, any available personnel can attach a tug to a cart and keep it moving. This equipment can also help workers swiftly keep parts moving throughout an entire process.

To optimize productivity with a battery-powered tug, contact Load Mover, Inc. Our experts will help you determine the right application for your needs to help you get the most use out of our equipment. Call 952-767-1720 or email info@loadmoverinc.com.