Flow production - 4th condition

From: Norman Bodek

Condition 4: Working by standing

Industrial Engineers, doctors and others do debate the advantages and disadvantages of people standing at work.
The question arises which is better for the human being: sitting and working, standing and working, or standing and moving and working. Are there any harmful effects to standing and moving while working?
I do sit and write for endless hours in front of my computer with shoulder muscle ache as a result.

“More and more work is performed while seated, and sitting upright, even in the best chair, is harder on the back than other activities like standing and walking… Sitting upright, even in a very good chair, is hard on your back.” – York University
Standing at work is an alternative but that also poses stress problems on the back and legs. Walking while working is probably the best for you body.

When you introduce a multi-process operation it is pretty much impossible to work sitting down or to just stand in front of a machine as the operator has to move continually between machines.

Ironically, when people are asked to work in cells and then walk during the day they are not only getting the job done faster and eliminating wastes but also are doing work in ways much healthier for their bodies.

But, people just naturally resist change. We get into a comfort zone and stay there no matter how bad that comfort zone might be. Also, since, in the past, we have succeeded at work with the old way of doing things we are very reluctant to change. “What if I change and make a mistake? They might fire me! Even though I am uncomfortable I still have a job.”

So when you set up a new cell there might be considerable resistance from workers to the new method. But, when people do have a chance to fully understand the reasons why they have to stand and walk and when they see that the are capable of running many machines successfully their resistance drops and they do appreciate this new opportunity.

Norman Bodek

I thank you for letting me write this series and do hope you find it of value. You might like to read a new book recently written by Chuck Yorke and myself All You Gotta Do Is Ask.

“All You Gotta Do Is Ask explains how to promote large number of ideas from your employees, something most organizations do very poorly, if at all. The people who manage such organizations are either unaware of the power of employee ideas, or they don’t know how to tap it. This easy-to-read book will show you why it is important to have a good idea system, how to set one up, and what it can do for you, your employees, and your organization. You will become a much more effective manager as a result. Your people will be happier, you (the manager) will be less stressed, and your unit’s performance will rise to levels you could not have come close to in any other way.” – Alan G. Robinson, professor University of Massachusetts and author of Ideas Are Free.