The phrase “can’t chew bubble gum and walk at the same time” is often attributed to manufacturing operators. This is simply not true, as many operators do extensive simultaneous motion. This motion can range from loading a bolt to a power tool to walking and obtaining a bolt from a pouch. Simultaneous motion saves the operator time, reduces ergonomic impact, and makes operators more versatile.
Operators tend to execute simultaneous activity to save time. Walking, while wasteful, is often filled with non-value added but necessary work like obtaining bolts and loading power tools. Operators can also grasp two things at once, saving as much as half a second (~3 MODS on average) per obtain, extrapolated over the course of the day, can result in increased production.
Per the United Auto Workers, operators should be restricted to 20 hand actions per hand per minute to preserve their bodies. Manufacturing facilities tend to then assign 40 hand actions per minute to the operator to stay within parameters. If operators complete all the assigned tasks with one hand, then their hand will ache and become damaged over time. Simultaneous activity will help the operators spread out the work between both hands, giving their bodies time to recover and prevent chronic injury.
Once operators fully utilize both hands in simultaneous motion, they will find a variety of tasks easier. Drilling into the left side of a post that is up against a wall is significantly easier with the drill in the left hand. Proficiency with the non-dominant hand gives operators an advantage.
Operators do multiple actions at the same time all the time: loading a bolt to a power, grabbing two items at once, or even obtaining something from a pouch while walking. Simultaneous motion is done more often than casually observed but can be cultivated into proficiency with the non-dominant hand.