5 Signs That Can Improve Operational Efficiency
How much signage is on your factory floor? While most manufacturers have mandated signage like “high voltage” or “do not leave machinery running unattended,” these are far from the only useful signs in a factory. In fact, signage is an important part of everyday factory operations, and the right signage could do more than you realize to improve the efficiency of those operations. Simple as it may be, signage is fundamentally important.
Like all “fundamentals,” signage sets the tone for how things get done. Good signage keeps employees safe and aware, encourages them to be alert, informs them, and, most important, helps them develop good habits and practices. All these things channel into better operational efficiency and the ability to avoid problems that detract from the overall quality of production.
Wondering what signs have the biggest impact on your factory’s operational efficiency? Here are five worth investing in:
- Production counters. These days, most production counters are digital, integrated directly within the value stream. How many cycles is your machine running per minute? What’s the batch count on the current run? How many widgets have passed through this production line since it started for that day? Production counters serve an important purpose, not only to show efficiency, but to encourage it.
- MSDS (material safety data sheet) signage. A type of safety signage, MSDS signage is likely on every chemical container in your facility — and that’s a good start. Also make sure MSDS signage is prevalent in areas where those chemicals are in use and where safety equipment is available to address potential hazards. Instant information in time of crisis is invaluable.
- Caution and safety signs. Every factory strives for zero incidents. Part of that mission involves awareness, which rests on signage. Whether it’s potential arc flash, a reminder to practice lockout/tagout, warning about heat/fire, or any other hazard, make sure caution and safety signs go above and beyond the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)-mandated signage to create a complete continuum of safety in your facilities.
- OSHA signage. Speaking of OSHA signage, there’s a slew of different types of signage that can and should be prominent in your facility, depending on the nature of operations. Don’t just display OSHA-mandated signage to avoid violating OSHA standards — display it to get the full benefits of informative signage that engrains good practices and awareness in your floor staff.
- Floor signs. Whether it’s taping to delineate sections within a warehouse or placement signage for different equipment, floor markings and signage keep people situationally aware and on-task, even when they’re looking down. Your factory floor should be marked appropriately so that every person develops instinctual awareness for where they are, what’s going on around them, and how the space they’re in is purposed.
Keep in mind that having signage isn’t enough. It needs to be displayed prominently and training must be provided to employees so they can easily recognize and abide by all posted messaging. Hang signs where they’ll be seen and have standards in place to ensure they’re followed.
Look at the signage posted around your factory floor and ask yourself if there’s room for better guidance, direction, and awareness beyond these mandated signs. If there is, make the investment in signage and consider it a long-term contribution to your factory’s operational efficiency.