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Productivity Tips

May 29, 2012

A Powered Carpet Dolly is a Dream Come True for Carpet Installers

In early written instances of someone using a flying carpet, the purpose of having a carpet with magical powers is for people to be transported from one place to another quickly. However, if you have ever needed to transport a carpet itself, you may have wished it could fly. In the real world, we have ways to transport ourselves, but moving carpet and rugs is not always so easy. While you cannot get a carpet to float in the air or fly, you can certainly make your work a lot easier with a DJ Products carpetcaddy.

A CarpetCaddy Powered Carpet Dolly can take was traditionally a job for two or three people and make it into something that one person can do. Instead of having to send out a team of people to load, transport, and install carpet, mats or rugs, you can have one person do work that used to require several people. Even if you need to send a team out, one person can take care of transporting the carpet or rug while other team members concentrate on other tasks.

You can use our powered carpet mover to maneuver around a warehouse, set-up in an event center or gymnasium, or to remove and deliver of seasonal floor mats or rugs.

The size and price of the powered carpet dolly make it a much safer and more affordable solution than a bulky lift truck and its ergonomic design means that one employee can get the job done safely without overextending the body. Call 800-686-2651 to order yours today!

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Apr 24, 2012

Ergonomically Designed Equipment Can Help Employees Work More Efficiently

As we advance into the 21st century there will be more and more talk of how machines can replace people. Certainly, there are a number of professions in which fewer people can find work because machines are being used more often, but there is still a lot of work that requires the human touch. And if your company has jobs that require human effort, why not take good care of your workers? When you use the right equipment, such as a battery powered tug from DJ Products, you can prevent your employees from becoming injured.

DJ Products’ warehouse tugs like the RiderCaddy can increase overall productivity. If your company had carts that required several operators, a RiderCaddy would allow them to be moved by just one operator. The operators eliminated from this responsibility would then be available for other tasks.

Last year, a Forbes.com article made this very point. Instead of giving in to the fear that machines will take over, individuals and companies can find tasks that make better use of an employee’s time. “We mechanize a task, get it done by machines, which frees up humans to go and do something else. Possibly a more interesting something else.”

Your employees could get more done and do it safely when they have equipment that is ergonomically designed. All of our products are battery powered “walk-behind” units, that allow the operator to have increased control, even in tight, difficult spaces. Because of this operating flexibility, our extremely efficient electric cart movers can be used in more applications than standard material handling equipment.

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Mar 13, 2012

Avoid Strain and Lost Productivity with Ergonomic Material Handling Equipment

On the topic of musculoskeletal disorders, the Centers for Disease Control says, “…employers often find themselves paying the bill, either directly or through workers’ compensation insurance, at the same time they must cope with the loss of the full capacity of their workers.”

While some injuries are beyond your control, there is plenty that employers can do to prevent muscle strain that results from attempting to transport heavy loads. DJ Products make Ergonomic Material Handling Equipment, including motorized carts, equipment pushers, trailer movers and shopping cart retrievers. You don’t have to deal with the loss in productivity that can occur when employees are injured.

You also don’t have to go through the experience of leaning too heavily on healthy employees because of employee injury. Planning ahead and looking for material handling solutions in advance can save you from lost revenue and morale.

We make battery powered “walk-behind” units that allow workers better control, even in tight, difficult spaces. This operating flexibility means that our electric cart movers can be used in more applications that standard material handling equipment.

Not only do our material handling solutions help you prevent injury, they are also versatile, which can save you money in other ways. DJ Products carts and tugs can eliminate the use of a more costly and cumbersome piece of equipment designed for a different material-handling task.

As the CDC notes: “…very often productivity gets an additional and solid shot in the arm when managers and workers take a fresh look at how best to use energy, equipment, and exertion to get the job done in the most efficient, effective, and effortless way possible.”

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Mar 19, 2010

Hazards in the Workplace

Many things located in your workplace; things that you use every single day without a second though, things as common as pallets, ladders, hand trucks can all prove to be dangerous if not used properly.  Many of the pieces of equipment that you use on a regular basis, the things that you come in contact with so often that you take their necessity for granted, can pose a serious health risk to you and others if they aren’t in good condition or if they aren’t properly used.

Regular inspections of all equipment should be made to ensure that everything is in good working condition, regular maintenance should be performed on any equipment that contains moving parts and you should ensure that all of your employees are educated on the proper use of the equipment.

The equipment that you use everyday needs to be: properly used by your employees, in good working condition and capable of handling the work that you are using it for.  Many workplace injuries can be avoided simply by the use of the right equipment for the task at hand.  The electric carts and lifts offered by DJ Products are easy to operate – your employees can be trained quickly to operate these lifts properly, safely and efficiently.  They are quiet – the rest of your employees won’t be distracted by excessive noise while DJ Product’s equipment is operating.  They are highly efficient and have long battery life – your employees won’t be stuck with an unfinished load of material in the middle of your warehouse due to the fact that their cart died.  All of these attributes will make your warehouse more efficient and much safer for all of your employees.

Safety should be a prime concern when you work in material handling – and safety starts with the right equipment for the job and properly trained employees.  You can make your operation as safe as possible and dramatically increase your company’s efficiency by using the right equipment for the job.

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Sep 09, 2009

Frugality Is New Business Reality

The nation’s economic gurus may have declared the recession over, but they’re warning businesses and consumers alike that recovery could continue for years. And we shouldn’t expect things to get back to the way they were — ever! The country is going through a major reset. After decades of inflated prices, inflated egos and inflated dreams, we’ve had to face the cold, harsh realities of life and — we hope — the experience has left us wiser and a little more wary of falling into the same pit again. The smaller employee pools, tighter resource management and lean production practices developed out of necessity during the recession are here to stay. Frugality is the new reality.

The frugal measures taken to keep American businesses from sinking will help us swim leaner, faster and farther in the post-recession marketplace. Having found that we can function and compete in a frugal environment, businesses are expected to use that new-found frugality to give themselves a competitive edge, using less to produce more. Sure it means that everyone will continue to work harder and do more; but that’s what it’s going to take to compete successfully in the new, tougher post-recession marketplace.

Smart business owners will seek out equipment that allows them to make more productive use of their more limited post-recession workforce. Material handling products like DJ Products ergonomically-designed CartCaddys allow a single worker to perform lifting and transporting tasks that it takes two or more workers to do manually. Because ergonomic design enables multiple workers of any size, shape or physical ability to perform the same task without risk of injury, DJ Products carts, tugs and movers allow employers to maximize use of their workforce. Eco-friendly, battery-operated motorized carts decrease fuel costs while cutting downtime and maintenance costs. And adoption of ergonomic equipment significantly reduces medical and workers compensation costs while letting your workers know you value their health and safety.

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Aug 03, 2009

Staying Competitive as Recession Wanes

The economy is finally showing signs of life; although as we mentioned in our last post, recovery is likely to be a slow process. As America recovers from the recession, businesses may find themselves trapped between wary consumers on one side and skittish bankers on the other, further slowing economic recovery. A continued lag in spending and lending means that belt-tightening will remain the norm for at least the next six to 12 months if businesses are to stay competitive and, in some cases, survive.  

In an informal poll conducted last month, Manufacturing & Technology eJournal readers said they planned to rely on a variety of cost-cutting measures over the next year to maintain their competitiveness (click the link above for complete survey results):

  • 36% expand territory
  • 32% seek cost reductions from existing vendors
  • 24% eliminate underperforming products/services
  • 24% employee layoffs
  • 21% reduce salaries or work days
  • 12.5% seek work closer to home

Turning to your own workers for suggestions on how to increase cost-saving measures has proved a successful tactic in many industries during the recession. While concessions made by auto workers and airline employees have garnered the lion’s share of the headlines, workers in nearly every industry and business field have agreed to cut salaries, decrease work hours or forego benefits in order to maintain the solvency of their employer and keep their jobs.

It’s all about sharing the load and allowing workers to buy into the decision-making process. Workers express greater support for solutions they have helped create. And they’re more likely to embrace cost-cutting measures — and exert peer pressure on fellow employees to toe the line — when they feel:

  1. Their efforts will have a direct impact on solving the problem.
  2. More people will be able to keep their jobs because of the sacrifices they are making.
  3. The burden is being shared equally by workers and management.  

That last point may be the most critical. We’ll look at why next time.

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Feb 27, 2009

Your Turn to Talk: Where Do You Stand on Ergonomic Debate?

We’ve spent some time this week talking about the changing climate in Washington with regard to ergonomics and ergonomic legislation. On the campaign trail, President Obama repeatedly promised workers a healthier, safer workplace, saying he would use the full weight of his office to attack the problem of musculoskeletal injuries. Confirmation this week Hilda Solis as Obama’s new Labor secretary is expected to get the ball rolling.

Despite the fact that ergonomic systems and equipment have been repeatedly proven to significantly reduce worker injury and the exorbitant medical, insurance, disability and lost man-hour costs associated with musculoskeletal injuries, recent news reports give the impression that business owners fear the financial burden of government-regulated ergonomics. Admittedly, as one of the nation’s premier manufacturers of ergonomically-designed electric carts and motorized cart pushers, DJ Products is a bit biased on the subject. However, our considerable experience with customers from large manufacturers to small business owners indicates that rather than fearing ergonomics, savvy businessmen are embracing it, not only to protect the health and safety of their employees, but to streamline production and reduce production costs. In our experience, most purchasers of our ergonomic carts, tugs and movers recoup their investment within the first year, noting savings in medical and production costs.

In news reports of ergonomic panic, the leadership of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce appears to be fanning the flames of dissent. The chamber cites cost and potential for abuse (i.e., paying the cost of worker injuries suffered off the job) as its two main reasons for opposition. There are always some people who will try to abuse the system, but we don’t imagine that abuse will be any greater with ergonomic rules than without them. If potential abuse were the deciding factor, there wouldn’t be any government programs, so this argument is negligible.

The issue of cost, particularly in the current economy, is, of course, a consideration. However, throughout industrial history, new innovations have required some re-tooling to reap greater profit. With ergonomics, considerable benefits can be realized from minor changes: a change in position, routine or tool placement. Ergonomic equipment can be introduced gradually, a sector at a time, allowing businesses to realize immediate gains without tremendous financial outlay.

The chamber argues that regulation is unnecessary because businessmen recognize the value of ergonomics and are implementing programs without government intervention. If that’s true, then what’s the harm in regulation? The fact is that forward-thinking businessmen do recognize the value of ergonomics and they are integrating ergonomics into their operations. But many are not and their workers suffer so government acts for the common good.

But enough from us, we want to hear from you on this issue. Where do you stand on the ergonomic debate? Let us know and we’ll share your thoughts with our readers.

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Feb 06, 2009

Applying Six Sigma to Ergonomics Drives Production Gains

Businesses that practice Six Sigma recognize the roll ergonomics can play in creating and sustaining productivity gains. Adoption of a comprehensive ergonomics program that combines implementation of ergonomic practices with use of ergonomically-designed equipment can lead to significant production gains, both immediate and sustainable in the long term. This is in addition to the obvious benefits ergonomics offers in improved workplace safety and reduced injury levels and their attendant costs.

In our last post, we began discussing how Six Sigma’s disciplined, process-oriented, five-step approach to problem solving can be applied to development of a comprehensive ergonomics program. We covered defining problem areas and goals, measuring existing stressors, and analyzing collected data to identify root problems and potential risks. Today, we continue our discussion of Six Sigma’s five-step process and its application to creation of a comprehensive ergonomics program.

Improve. Develop solutions to address the identified root causes of production area problems, set performance standards, and define responsibilities of both workers and managers. Remember to talk to the workers who actually perform the tasks and use the equipment. They can provide valuable input and often offer useful, practical solutions to production problems. Implement your improvement action plan, including necessary staff and management training.

Control. To ensure that productivity gains are sustained over the long term and that they continue to improve, it is important to monitor the established ergonomics program to ensure that performance standards and personnel responsibilities are being maintained. Measurement data should be regularly collected and analyzed to ensure that productivity improvement goals are sustained.

Too often ergonomics programs fail because they are not fully supported by top level management. Particularly now, when manufacturers and other businesses, beset by myriad economic concerns, are forced to run lean, many have shunted plans to implement an ergonomics program to the future. There is general lack of understanding of the significant productivity gains that accrue with implementation of an ergonomics program. By increasing productivity, ergonomic processes and ergonomically-designed equipment can improve your bottom line noticeably. And that is in addition to the proven savings realized from the immediate decrease in workplace injuries and accompanying decrease in medical, insurance, workers’ compensation and lost man-hour costs when ergonomics are employed. Making a comprehensive ergonomics program part of your company’s Six Sigma strategy guarantees it the credibility and top level management support necessary for success and sustainability.  

For information on ergonomic equipment designed to solve your material handling problems, contact the ergonomic engineers at DJ Products.

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Feb 04, 2009

Six Sigma + Ergonomics = Productivity Gains

Implementation of a comprehensive ergonomics program is often initiated by a business for the obvious safety and financial benefits realized in reduced workplace injuries and their attendant costs. What many business owners fail to realize are the significant productivity gains possible when ergonomic practices and ergonomically-designed equipment are adopted. Businesses that practice Six Sigma have been quick to see the potential for sustained productivity gains when ergonomics are integrated into workplace practices.

Utilization of the 5-step Six Sigma process can help a business build a successful and sustainable ergonomics program that will not only produce impressive immediate production gains, but sustain and continue to improve those results over the long-term. Six Sigma practitioners have found that adoption of ergonomic practices and use of ergonomic equipment optimizes worker performance, reduces production cycle time, increases cost competitiveness, and empowers workers. The end result is increased production, improved product quality, a happier workforce committed to improvement, and a satisfyingly positive impact on your bottom line.

Six Sigma’s disciplined, process-oriented approach to problem solving involves five steps that are easily applied to development of a comprehensive ergonomics program:

Define. It’s important to know what you’re working toward, so the Six Sigma process begins by establishing the goals to be achieved. Clearly define the problems to be addressed by reviewing injury, illness and workers’ compensation claim data for commonalities. Production bottlenecks, quality issues, rework costs, and warranty costs are other problem indicators. Don’t neglect the important area of staff morale. High absenteeism is indicative of low morale. After defining problem areas, establish specific goals for improvement in each area. You’ll also need to determine tracking metrics and establish support and educational resources.

Measure. In order to correctly measure improvement, you need to pinpoint your starting point. Collect information about your workers and their abilities. Define the parameters and potential risk of each task, paying particular attention to potential stressors, including site lines, posture, reach required, force expended, repetition, vibration, noise levels, work environment temperature, etc. Collect data about the individual steps required to perform each task.

Analyze. Analyze the data collected to discover the root cause of each problem. Evaluate and identify risks associated with each task. Don’t neglect to talk to the workers who actually perform each task. They can provide astute insight into what works, what doesn’t and how to improve the situation. Before implementation, carefully evaluate potential process improvements, equipment and tools for their ability to solve the problem as well as risk potential. Determine and prioritize improvements to be introduced into the workplace.

To be continued Friday

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Dec 29, 2008

Ergonomics Increase Workplace Efficiency

Manufacturers are shutting factories and slashing jobs in an effort to stop the hemorrhaging from the global economic recession. A recession “always hits manufacturing first and hardest,” said Hank Cox, spokesman for the 10,000 member National Association of Manufacturers. “We’re going into a valley” that looks like it’s going to be “long and deep.”

Economic experts compare this recession to the 2000-2003 slowdown during which manufacturing lost 3 million jobs and never really got them back. Greater initial job loss is expected this time around, but there is hope that as the economy improves a greater number of jobs will be reinstated and that the net job loss will be less than in 2003. Until things turn around, though, everyone will have to work a little harder to pick up the slack.

Increasing the efficiency of your workforce can help business owners trim operating costs. Implementing personnel programs to decrease absenteeism has shown good results but doesn’t address the root cause of the problem. Poor working conditions that place unnatural strain on workers’ bodies take both a physical and mental toll on your workforce. Implementing an ergonomic program in your workplace can not only boost employee morale but eliminate costly musculoskeletal injuries and their associated costs.

Ergonomically-designed powered carts and movers relieve workers of the physical strain and discomfort caused by manual performance of pushing, pulling and lifting tasks. Making an investment in your employees’ health and safety improves morale. And where morale is high, worker efficiency has been proven to increase. But these are the indirect benefits of implementing an ergonomics program in your workplace. Direct benefits include an immediate and permanent decrease in expensive musculoskeletal injuries — particularly back injuries — and the high medical, insurance, disability and workers’ compensation costs they entail.

Workplace injury and illness cost U.S. businesses $171 billion a year. Approximately 13.2 million workers every year are injured in the workplace, resulting in $60 billion in workers’ compensation claims annually. According to OSHA estimates, back injuries account for 1 in 5 disabling injuries. Back injuries alone cost American businesses more than $12 million in lost workdays and $1 billion in compensation costs each year. The lost workday cost of a single back injury is estimated at $26,000.

Implementing an ergonomic program in your workplace can dramatically and immediately impact worker efficiency and your bottom line. Most businesses recoup their investment in ergonomic equipment within the first year. For more information on how ergonomic carts and movers can improve efficiency in your workplace, contact the knowledgeable experts at DJ Products today.

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