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Walking is a Waste of Time and Energy

The expression ‘Time is money’ is an overused cliché. Time is way more important than money. It is the one thing we all wish that we had more of, but with some careful planning, manufacturers can save time and energy simply with more attention to detail. The amount of time that taking even one step can be calculated. The better the setup is, the more time and energy are saved by not having to walk to grab things repeatedly. Walking can even be dangerous to the operators trying to do their jobs. The time saved by reducing even one step from a manufacturing process can be multiplied into large benefits for the manufacturer and the operators making the products. The most important aspect of improving the manufacturing process is to craft a better setup. By walking, time and energy are wasted because of non-value added activities, double handling, and loss of concentration.
A bad setup would be where the operator must carry something to somewhere, and no work occurs during that time. In a MODAPTS time study, a step is recoded because no other process was occurring simultaneously. It is a lot of time if put in a process that is repeated often. One step is awarded 5 MODs which equates to 0.645 seconds. If you have a process where your operator takes a step there and a step back, 25 times per hour, that is 50 steps. Those 50 steps cost that operator’s time and energy – about 4.3 minutes per day. In an average 260-day work year, that one step that you thought was so small would cost nearly 19 hours. This time and energy should be saved.
No work occurring means that no value was added to the product. It was suspended while a human had to do physical labor of relocating it someplace. An aside is when an operator puts the object down to do a different task. Picking that object back up again is called a double handle. An aside would be commonly coded as M3P0. This costs 3 MODs, and 3 MODs costs 0.387 seconds. This makes no sense in a manufacturing setting. Relocation of materials and double handling is a sign of a bad setup. To be efficient, something needs to happen to further the process. “Streamlined manufacturing processes are… those with the fewest activities that do not add value to the product” (mmsonline.com). An efficient setup would look like everything happening in one spot. Everything would need its own clearly marked place. Then, the worker would not have to do useless walking. Relocating or double handling would be no more because the space would be exceptionally functional.
No one wants to see someone get hurt, but that can happen at any moment on a production floor. Because walking requires an operator to pay attention, the everchanging environment is a risk to the operator. Walking breaks an operator’s concentration because walking is dangerous. According to OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “…slips, trips and falls… constitute about 15 percent of all accidental deaths in the United States.” Because of the hazards of walking, operators must pay attention to their surroundings, and this loss of concentration is a loss of time. In addition to saving time and energy, reducing walking can reduce the operator’s chance of a workplace injury.
Walking is a needless waste of time and energy. We can calculate how much time is being wasted by walking. The importance of crafting a good setup is for efficiency. Also, the worker needs to concentrate on walking anytime it is performed. The broken concentration, double handling and non-value added activities are caused by walking. With a better setup, manufacturers and their operators would save time and energy.

Sources:
Streamlining Your Manufacturing Process | Modern Machine Shop (mmsonline.com)
OSHA Workplace Safety (General Industry 6 Hr Class)

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